“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
I share this quote with my clients because it is a unique way to look at your company’s short- and long-term strategies. I break this strategy down into two key points:
- What do your customers value about your business and industry now and will continue to value in the future?
- How do you deliver it today and continue to it delivery tomorrow in the most valuable, efficient, and cost-
When you look at Amazon, it is easy to see how this strategy has been implemented in everything Amazon does. Amazon used to be an online bookstore, but now they are an expansive online retailer. Whenever I need almost anything (I have two boys, ages 6 and 4, and they are constantly growing out of shoes, getting bite by bugs, scrapping knees, losing balls, wanting to learn new things, running out of things to build, only having one sock, movies to watch, books to read, crayons, markers, sunscreen, music, and anything to do with Spider Man. And all that was just from yesterday.) I know that I’ll be able to get it from Amazon at a very competitive price. Plus, I’m a Prime Member so for $119 a year, I get free one- or two-day shipping on everything I order. Since Amazon has low prices, fast delivery, and a vast selection, that is where I go first to buy. And with Bezos strategy, in ten years if that is the same at Amazon, that is where I will buy. I’m not alone, look at Amazon’s stock performance over the last 20 years
It is also important to remember that those three tenets may still be true in ten years, but how they are delivered to the customer may be entirely different. Technology advancements (how will 5G impact how we all interact with technology? 3D printing?), improvements in logistics, competition, etc.
When I think about my consulting business and what my client’s value today and what they’ll continue to value in the future, the tenets that will continue to be true are:
- Trust – it is important that my clients trust me. I can’t imagine working with clients in 10 years and this not being the foundation of the work I do.
- Value and budget-based pricing – Work with clients to agree on a fee structure that works with their budget and the value that they will receive. Again, hard to see this changing in the future.
- Solutions – my clients have a business challenge and they hire me to solve it. In the future that is not going to change. How challenges are solved may change, but the expectation is still going to be that a solution is found.
Everything at Tremont Consulting starts and ends with developing trust with our clients, finding solutions and delivering value.
Think about your business, what do your customers value today and will continue to value in the future? Leave a comment below, I’m interested to learn what is valuable in your industry.