How are enterprises created? It begins when someone catches the scent of opportunity. They begin to check to see if whether what they sense is a part of a path worthy of following. As they travel the path, they are likely to be greeted with other scents as the path branches. Some of the branches will lead to deadends and false starts, others will promise options worthy of pursuit.
The decisions on the paths worthy of commitment have another feature. Money. Money that is tangible, trackable and obtainable. As a lady with the initials of LK would say, nearly as a mantra: “Follow the Money.”
Although her instruction was more from an audit perspective, it works when you are in pursuit of opportunty too. In the post, What is an Enterprise?, we gave a number of examples and kinds of enterprises. All were initiated when someone caught the scent and followed the money.
Questions that will help you find and pursue the paths that will become the linkages of your enterprise include:
- Do I share customers with a company offering different products and services than I offer?
- Do these customers buy from companies offering those products:
- At the same time they have a transaction with my company?
- Before the transaction with my company?
- Following the transaction with my company?
- How often does this occur?
- Would the customer buy these products and services from my company if they were offered?
- Would this increase customer “stickiness”?
- Does it result in dollars or discounts due to the relationship of companies under my business umbrella?
- Will the additional products or services be ancillary, stand alone or become the core?
- Will brand extension be an asset or a hinderance?
- Who will be the customer?
- If it is a stand alone with no relationship to the core business or other businesses under the umbrella, why do you want to pursue this?
These questions will not be the end of the questions but will get you started. In each case, as the follow the money question – Can we make money? Each question will help you develop a series of linkages that may be important in your consideration.
An example that may be helpful, there are obvious linkages in a real estate transaction of products and services that are necessary to complete the sale. However the number of home buyers that buy a new or different car within 90 – 180 days is very high.
Does that mean that the brokerage should own a car company or an interest in one? Probably not as there is no guarantee that the customer will select the brand or type offered.
The preferred arrangement that has money and relationship is to create relationship with car vendors who are in the car business to create an affiliate relationship. These help provide stickiness and extend the customer relationship with very little cost but benefit in customer satisfaction, retention and referrals.
Catching a scent trail does not mean that you will find the meat but if your nose is not to the ground and checking the air, it is unlikely you will find the scent. In addition to scent, follow the money.
· The dog pictured is Blue, a Bluetick Coonhound owned by our daughter. He has a passport and follows scents all over the US and in many countries. A working dog, he carries his own pack.