Imagine, thousands of years ago, when our ancestors made a bold choice to shift from hunting to farming. They opted for a more comfortable and less risky life over one filled with constant changes and dangers. While this choice may seem wise, it had an unexpected consequence: it made people less motivated and too comfortable. This attitude still affects us today.
So, how does this old choice relate to today’s businesses? Look at the leaders in different industries. Some act like farmers – they don’t care much, they’re scared of change, or they always do things the same way. Most of the time, these people fail. But there are others who act like hunters. They’re quick to do things, they’re not afraid of taking chances, and they adapt easily. And these are the people you should follow. In this blog, we’ll explore the important ideas to become more like a hunter, so you can succeed in today’s ever-changing world.
The 3 common pitfalls in business
Success in business is something every leader strives for, but it’s not always easy to achieve. There are three common pitfalls that can hinder success, and they’re known as the “Farmer Traps.” Let’s break them down in simple terms.
- Farmer Trap is complacency. This happens when people become too comfortable with their past successes and stop adapting to changing circumstances. Take the example of Smith Corona, a typewriter company that thought it was invincible in its industry. They ignored the rise of computers and eventually went bankrupt.
- Farmer Trap is repetition. This occurs when a business keeps doing the same things that worked before, expecting them to work forever. Blockbuster Video is a classic case. They stuck to their old model of renting DVDs in stores and didn’t adapt to streaming services, leading to their downfall.
- Farmer Trap is overprotectiveness. This happens when companies cling to the way things are and resist change. Kodak, a film company, missed opportunities in the digital age because they were too focused on their traditional film products. They ended up going bankrupt.
To succeed in business, it’s crucial to avoid these Farmer Traps by staying open to change, not just relying on past success, and being willing to adapt to new technologies and market trends.
Channeling your hunter instincts
To avoid common pitfalls and achieve success, it’s essential to nurture something called the “Hunter Instincts” – these include insatiability, curiosity, and a willingness to embrace change.
- Instead of becoming complacent, cultivate insatiability.
- Reject routine and embrace curiosity
- Be open to change and ready to abandon the familiar.
Instead of clinging to the status quo, you must be willing to let go of your safety net to encounter new ideas and opportunities. Chef Eric Ripert’s enduring success, maintaining a three-star Michelin rating, is a prime example. He constantly discards old menus and starts anew, fully embracing change.
Now that you understand these Hunter Instincts, the next step is learning how to apply them in practice.
Six patterns for spotting exciting business trends
To predict future business trends, you can use six opportunity patterns. Let’s start with two of them: Convergence and Divergence.
Convergence means finding new opportunities by blending different trends. For example, the popular app “Zombies, Run!” combined GPS technology, the fitness craze, and the zombie trend to create a successful product. Combining various trends and industries can offer valuable products to customers.
Divergence, on the other hand, is about standing out from the competition by taking a unique approach. Creating a product that taps into ideas like rebellion, status, or luxury can make you distinct. The key to succeeding with divergence is smart marketing. Red Bull, for instance, turned their less-than-great-tasting product into a success through clever advertising. They communicated an exciting and unique brand, proving that with the right marketing strategy, you can make divergence work and create successful products and services that stand out.
Creating opportunity through momentum: Cyclicality and Redirection
Let’s explore two key opportunity strategies: Cyclicality and Redirection. These methods revolve around harnessing the force of momentum. Imagine predicting trends and capitalizing on predictable cycles like the comeback of old-fashioned charm, nostalgic sentiments, economic ups and downs, and generational trends.
Cyclicality focuses on embracing history to see beyond the present and predict the future. It’s a potent way to find opportunities. Many companies, from liquor makers to car manufacturers, fashion brands to food companies, have revitalized their businesses by tapping into cyclical patterns and nostalgia. Take Instagram, for instance; it combines nostalgia with the trend of sharing photos on social media, making user-generated photos look vintage.
Redirection, on the other hand, redirects trends or behaviors by changing their direction, importance, or perception. It’s like turning a negative story into a positive one, using the trend’s momentum to your advantage and making people desire your product.
A great example is Volvo, which successfully transformed its unpopular boxy car design into a strength. They used the slogan “They’re boxy but they’re good” to highlight the car’s safety features, turning a potential drawback into a selling point. By skillfully redirecting the narrative, Volvo not only neutralized the negative perception but also boosted sales.
The reduction and acceleration approach
Let’s explore these two approaches: Reduction simplifies things by aiming at niche groups with a straightforward product or service. This involves using input from a large number of people and adapting it to the local context to remove any unnecessary parts.
In simpler terms, it means finding an existing product and stripping away all the complex layers to create something valuable for a small group of people. This approach worked wonders for GoPro, a user-friendly, wide-angle camera with just two buttons that attracted adventure enthusiasts.
On the other hand, Acceleration focuses on making an existing product stand out by improving, exaggerating, reimagining, or repositioning its key features. This means taking a great idea and making it even better, bigger, or faster to attract customers.
For instance, Dyson became the gold standard for high-end vacuum cleaners by perfecting the device to become the most powerful on the market, even though it took over 5,000 prototypes to achieve. In 1991, James Dyson received the International Design Fair prize for his exceptionally powerful and efficient product. These strategies can help you find your unique spot in the market and boost your innovation, decision-making, and investment skills.
The power of opportunity patterns
To find a great business idea, you should start by narrowing your focus and closely following your chosen industry. This means becoming an “inner hunter” by understanding the six opportunity patterns. Once you’ve done that, you can begin honing in on a promising business concept.
Finding a successful idea can be challenging, but the key is to establish a “hunting ground” where you spot a cluster of opportunities. These opportunities might involve products, services, or ideas with a similar approach. Then, use the six opportunity patterns to reframe your central idea and make it unique.
Don’t limit yourself to researching and gathering ideas that are obviously similar. Instead, explore different markets to discover innovative approaches to similar goals. This is how you create something truly distinctive.
Regardless of your industry, you must be able to predict future trends before they happen. Fortunately, whether you’re in movies, fashion, tech, retail, broadcast media, or food, the six opportunity patterns can help you identify upcoming opportunities.
In the fashion industry, retailers like Zara and H&M have succeeded by offering consumers more choices and speeding up their production processes. They adapt quickly by introducing new designs in just 14 days and offering a vast selection of items.
What comes next? By applying convergence to the fashion industry, we can anticipate trends like wearable technology and 3D printed clothing. Companies that seize these opportunities now will dominate the future.
In today’s fast-changing market, things are more unpredictable and messy than ever. If you want to do well in this uncertain world, you need to be open to change. To do that, tap into your inner explorer and make the most of chances when you spot them. This will help you adapt fast, not just to stay afloat but to really excel.
Inspired by a book “Better and Fasters”; Jeremy Gutsche”