To experience unconventional growth, sometimes you have to get the vision from other industries about your exact same problems which they may already have solved. In the fifties, a company was struggling with how they could improve the service of their restaurant. They did a two-day immersion in the banking industry. The guy got in his car, drove around, looked at banks and interviewed tellers. He drove to the third bank, half of the building looked like it was hit by a tornado and it was under construction.
He walked up to the construction and asked what’s going on. They go, “We’re adding a customer service window.” The guy then goes outside the rain and said, “People are going to walk up to this in the rain?” They said, “No. They’re going to a drive-through and make their deposits. We’re going to give them their receipt through a drive-through window.” The guy got into his car, drove back to the corporate, blew the speed limit and stop signs, and he goes, “I’ve got it. We’re going to have a drive-through window to our restaurants and serve food faster. We’re going to be known for fast food.” The rest is history.
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This is the part three of a four-part series on vision and how it stimulates growth and how growth is impossible without some vision. What I’m trying to do is open the door to outside vision in all four of these parts. I like this one a lot especially if I’m doing a talk, I catch myself saying the phrase that often your business challenge is already solved in another industry. Other industries have had your current challenge many, many years ago or decades ago. They’ve already solved it but you’ll never know because you never go out and check those other industries. It’s hard to do it. I’m calling this Research and Development, Redefined.
Most people know R&D as split testing. Most people know that major companies like Apple, Google, Zappos and Amazon spend a huge portion, 8% of gross on buying smaller up and coming companies before they’re worth a ton of money and only one out of eight of these small companies ever bears fruit. Those companies ended up many times becoming a major value of that company. The greatest example is Yahoo. Most people don’t know that the company Yahoo, which used to be one of the biggest search engines in the world, 80% of its value is its very small stake of stock in the company Alibaba in China. How did that happen? Yahoo was always buying pieces of small companies. When they bought a piece of Alibaba, it was small and it got very big to say the least.
I started with split testing. I talked about mega companies buying small companies. The most common split testing that people do internally is in marketing and product development. They either split test a bunch of different marketing methods or they split test a bunch of let’s call it cousin products. Products they should or think they should bring in. I started this by saying most challenges are already solved in somebody else’s industry. You can do R&D from a chair by just searching things online, but you can still do R&D from a driver’s seat in a vehicle. I want to give you a couple of interesting tidbits and I’ll finish with a story.
The first thing I recommend, pick an industry that has absolutely nothing to do with yours. If you’re in landscaping, why don’t you pick commercial general contracting building huge skyscrapers? What does it have to do with landscaping? They’re in the cities. They don’t use landscaping. It’s got nothing to do with landscaping. Maybe aviation. If you’re in landscaping, pick aviation. Something that has nothing and could never overlap with your space.
Then I want you to R&D it from your chair and from the chair of your vehicle or you can assign someone to do this in your company. I want you to immerse yourself in that industry online. I want you to tell me, what are the questions they use for hiring and firing management? What are the questions they use to hire people? What are some of the top three or five general contractors or aviation companies saying in their end of the year reports? What are the common myths and fallacies in these industries? Why do they pick certain locations for their office? You’ll be like, “What does this have to do with my company?”
Then what I want you to do is two days of physical immersion, get in your car and I want you to go to their industry conferences. I want you to walk into their retail locations. I want you to interview some of these people, sit through a webinar. Here’s what you’re going to find. Somewhere in these four days, two days of studying them online and two days where you immerse yourself, you’re going to realize something, “They are talking about the same issues I’m dealing with but on a different level and in a different scale, at least a third of the time. ”
You’re going to start resonating with how similar business challenges are. How common the common problems are? Would it surprise you that somebody in the restaurant business did this many years ago, in the ’50s and they were struggling with how they could improve the service of their restaurant? They did a two-day immersion in the banking industry. Lo and behold, the guy got in his car, drove around, looked at banks, interviewed people and tellers.
He drove to the third or fourth bank and it was under construction. He walks up to the construction. Half of the building looked like it was hit by a tornado and he said, “What’s going on here?” They’d go, “We’re adding a customer service window.” The guy goes, “Outside in the rain? People are going to walk up to this in the rain?” “No. They’re going to drive-through and they’re going to be able to make their deposits and we’re going to give them their receipt through a drive-through window.”
The guy began to shake. He got into his car, he drove back to the corporate, he blew the speed limit and blew stop signs and he goes, “I’ve got it. We’re going to have a drive-through window to our restaurants and we’re going to serve food faster. We’re going to be known for fast food.” Then the rest is history. He never could have done that by staying in the restaurant business. What I suggest you do is why don’t you go get the sight lines and the vision from other industries about your exact same problems? They may already have solved. I hope this helps. Take care.