Recommended reading: Blue Ocean Strategy

One of my favorite books:

W. Chan Kim and Renee Maubergne provide readers with a powerful way to look at your business, your competitors, and the marketplace to identify opportunities for differentiation and innovation. Their strategy canvas is the best strategic tool of the book, in my opinion, although their 4 Actions Framework is also a useful version of a familiar innovation process.

Lots of business books spend too much time talking about theory and not enough time offering practical guidance. But Blue Ocean Strategy was very actionable. I ended up with a HUGE list of opportunities that I’m implementing.

[UPDATE FROM 37 MONTHS LATER: I can report that the actionable ideas I uncovered using Kim and Maubergne’s book played a significant role in my business’ success. In the past 3 years, I have seen a dramatic improvement in business positioning, client quality, revenue, and profit.]

Business Diamond Framework: A new way of looking at business

The Business Diamond Framework™ is a new way of looking at a business.

There are many different kinds of businesses but all of those businesses perform the same four functions to achieve their unique ends. Those four functions can be depicted like this:

bdf-w-words-full

Leadership” represents the vision-casting and management of decision-makers. “Value-Add” represents the input-side of the business’ supply chain, which might include information or raw materials. “To-Market” represents the output-side of the supply chain, which includes marketing, sales, distribution, and other steps to bring a completed product or service to market. And “Support” represents the critical but non-revenue-generating functions of the business, which usually includes payroll, reception, HR, and other departments.

Google trending the economy

Recently I posted a blog about how Google Trends “predicted” the recession. While I was there, I decided to see the search trend on the term “economy“. I wondered how it would compare. Here is Google’s trend chart:

aaronhoos_googletrends_economy

This chart fascinates me for a couple of reasons:

  • The current economic climate is not prompting people to search for the word “economy” any more than any other economic climate. I’d have guessed that it would be higher.
  • Not surprisingly, there is a valley through the third quarters when everyone is away on vacation and not thinking about work or business or the economy.
  • There are slight peaks at the end of every quarter, which makes sense that people are thinking about economic factors that might influence their EOQ results or forecasts.
  • What surprised me the most was the large dip at the end of the year. It’s as if people are so focused on Christmas and New Year and the opportunities for the year to come that they stop searching for “economy” information? While there is often a small spike at the end of every quarter, there is a huge dip at the end of the year; and in every case, that end-of-the-year dip is greater than the summer dip.

Introduction to the Business Diamond Framework

The Business Diamond Framework&trade is a tool I’ve created in the past couple of years to help businesses achieve profitable growth. From time to time, you’ll read about the Framework and how you can apply it to your business.

The Business Diamond Framework™ started life as a way for me to quickly understand my clients’ marketplace, goals, and needs so that I could write for them more effectively. But later, it became a tool that helped businesses to learn more about themselves, to develop competitor-defying innovation, and to implement strategy effectively.

Here’s why it’s relevant: Businesses want to grow but a growth path is not clearly laid out for them. They need to create strategy but which strategy to choose? There are a multitude of strategic development tools out there, but which ones are the right ones?

That’s what the Business Diamond Framework™ solves. The Framework combines two things:

  • A new way to think about a business
  • A methodology