Haier Group Corporation is a Chinese multinational home appliances and consumer electronics company headquartered in Qingdao, China. It designs, develops, manufactures, and sells products such as refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, computers, and more. Haier is a very well-known brand, globally with a huge brand value. A weird yet interesting story was recently published on Asian media. A Chinese farmer complaint with Haier Electronics that a drainage pipe in his washing machine clogged constantly. Haier maintenance found that the farmer used the washing machine to wash sweet potatoes rather than cloth. Obviously, not the mission nor the use this machine was built for. This came as a surprise to Haier but further studies showed that many farmers in remote rural areas do the exact same thing. When the CEO of the Haier Group heard the news, he soon realized that this could be a big business opportunity. He decided to invest in the development of a washing machine with a very big draining outlet that could be used to wash clothes as well as vegetables. The new model was even priced at an affordable price and the first units manufactured, targeted at rural areas, were immediately sold out.
This is Business development at its best.
A seemingly bizarre opportunity allows a product destined for a given market to be sold to a completely different market, one that was not marked at all as possible, and to allow the company, taking the necessary actions of course, to generate sales to a whole new world and produce a substantial non-organic growth jump.
Although in our case, it is actually a very organic (vegetable) non-organic growth 😊
Washing Machine for vegetables ...
The story of coca-cola is probably one of the earliest and most successful stories of business development and how companies find new ways to grow if when things are bad on their so-called "natural field". Colonel John Pemberton, wounded in the American Civil War and addicted to morphine, began a quest to find a substitute for the problematic drug and developed "Pemberton's French Wine Coca". But the market has changed. Prohibition happened and alcohol was forbidden. So, Pemberton developed Coca-Cola, a nonalcoholic version of his French Wine Coca. It was initially sold at Drugstore soda fountains that were popular in the United States at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health. Coca-cola was marketed as a patent medicine, claiming it a cure morphine addiction, indigestion, nerve disorders, headaches, and even impotence. But…. it did not sell very well.
By 1892 coca-cola was sold Asa Kendler who completely severed the drink's connection with the medical field and turned it into a common beverage brand.
No more medicine but rather "just" a light drink. A small change that immediately generated 50M4 in sales – to a totally different market audience.
Kendler did miss the success of ready-made drinks in the bottle and the exit from the fad of soda fountains.
When the company realized the problem the market was flooded it needed to find a way in. so it changed its UI completely and created a new one - the iconic glass bottle, shaped like a woman's body a move that in retrospect has been particularly smart and successful and made the company what it is today.
First – they made the same drink. alcohol-free
Second - they transformed from being a medicine to be a consumer beverage.
Third – they created an iconic unique bottle.
And then, they concurred the world.
From medicine to the top of the world, Coca-Cola
50B$, That is the Cost of JUST ONE Missed Opportunity.
A big Miss.
What might happen if you miss out on such a business opportunity?
It is natural to grieve an opportunity that got away,
but what can be the damage of missing out on a business opportunity, is something most people tend Not to calculate too often.
Ideally, for every missed opportunity, there is a lesson learned, sometimes However, that cost may be… huge.
Back in 1976, a group of guys started a computer company, one that would later change the world. Apple.
Two of them even shared the same name, both were Called Steve – one was Steve Jobs and the other was Steve Wozniak.
But there was a third founder, one that not many people know nor heard about, that man was Ronald Wayne.
In 1976, Ronald Wayne built the internal corporate documentation systems at the three-year-old Atari, where he met coworkers Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
Wayne wrote a partnership agreement, and the three founded Apple. Wayne also illustrated the first Apple logo and wrote the Apple I manual.
Wayne's business attitude was risk-averse due to his experience five years prior with a "very traumatic" failure of his slot machine business, so Twelve days after Wayne wrote the document that formally created Apple, he returned to the registrar's office and renounced his role in the company,
therefore relinquishing his equity in exchange for US$800.
Wayne left Apple 2 weeks after it was founded. The 800USD received were for his 10% stake in the company.
He reportedly got another check later for $1,500 to forfeit any claims he had against the company going forward.
Decades later Wayne has stated that he has made the "best decision with the information available to him at the time".
His stock today would be worth over $55 billion...
The story is perhaps an anecdote.
But it comes to show how easy it is to miss an opportunity, to make a wrong decision when an opportunity appears, or just to miss it when it passes you by. Sometimes one opportunity can be worth more than anything you may or can ever earn.
That’s why opportunity management is so crucial, important, and critical.
Especially in the growth process of a company, and it should thus be treated with the utmost respect.
50B$ - A Very Big Miss
Missed or ignored opportunities might even kill you.
There are few corporate blunders as staggering as Kodak’s missed opportunities in digital photography, a technology that it invented.
For nearly a century, no company commercialized the camera as successfully as Kodak, whose breakthroughs included low-cost photography, one of the first successful color material- Kodachrome, and the easy-load Instamatic camera. Kodak even reached a 90% market share of photographic film sales in the United States. In 1975, Steven Sasson, an engineer working for Kodak, invented the first self-contained digital camera. Sasson envisioned a future in which a camera doesn’t have mechanical moving parts. Kodak's corporate response to his creation was "it is a filmless photography, that’s cute, but don’t tell anyone about it." Kodak, a company that revolutionized the world of cameras and photography, missed a huge opportunity. The opportunity to go digital (first) and lead this world. This strategic failure was the direct cause of Kodak’s decades-long decline as digital photography destroyed its film-based business model. The Company's inability to recognize digital photography as a disruptive technology for decades paved the way for its bankruptcy. In January 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
This was probably one of the highest prices ever paid due to a missed opportunity…
Missed or ignored opportunities might even kill you - The Kodak Story.
The Lean Business Development Methodology
Many of you know and some even use the philosophy of the "lean start-up".
But do business development teams do the same when it comes to growth opportunities and Business development projects?
Business development ideas often enough chart new territories as they come up offering new innovative or creative products and solutions.
Business development will also need to find the right, or even new business model rather than execute an existing one and is often based on assumptions rather than hard data.
Lean Business developments are based on three main principles:
1. Experimenting and learning through trials and errors.
2. Collecting Customer feedback.
3. Developing using short, iterative development cycles.
The lean business development process is organized around the “build-measure-learn” principle. This includes creating the minimum viable product (MVP) fast then figuring out the next steps based on customer feedback.
The lean business development process begins by acknowledging that the initial idea is based mostly on assumptions that need to be verified, not facts. Once verified, the idea can be tested with potential users. This way, the product-market fit could be quickly determining if the product features, pricing, distribution channels, and customer acquisition it has in mind could work. The development process should be as agile as possible, based on short development cycles/ iterations. It eliminates waste and constantly adjusts the product or service you make until it's fully tailored to the customer's needs, all based on constant customer feedback, assuring maximum product-market-fit before scaling up.
The story of Dropbox - Lean business development method example
Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage solutions today. Not many are aware that the company owes its success to the lean Business development approach. Before launching its first product, Dropbox developed sort of an MVP. The MVP was not presented to potential clients. Instead, dropbox presented a Video of the alleged MVP. Turns out, many liked it and Dropbox gained tons of subscribers overnight. Incorporating customer feedback, Dropbox gradually developed more requested features and gradually moved towards full product-market fit.
The lean business development approach acknowledges that Business development is very much a work in progress and that Initial ideas are likely based on assumptions that need to be examined, supported with data, and validated in a due process.
The Lean Business Development Methodology