A few months ago, my colleagues and I had a strategic session to decide on the future of the company. I am not suggesting we are in trouble, on the contrary. I get worried when I am losing about as much as I worry when I am winning. When I am losing of course the problem is often clearer.
There are many reasons why you (your business) may be losing. You may be losing clients leading to loss of revenue, or losing competent staff, or keeping too many incompetent staff, a new player may be nibbling away at your cheese prompting you to retaliate or find new cheese.
Understand why you’re winning
When you are losing, the numbers will show and it does not take long before action is required to rectify the situation or you will soon find yourself on a very long queue at the UIF offices.
When we win, we seldom question why we win; we may even reverse engineer explanations of why we are winning because we do not have the faintest idea. This is a very dangerous situation to be in, winning and not know or understand why? You need to know why your business is succeeding in order to work on your strengths, make them better, fortify your cheese and make it harder for people to copy your winning formula, your unique value proposition.
Understand what you’re offering
It was on the back of this winning formula that Rocketseed developed, that led me to investigate yet another phenomenon. Are we offering our customers products or are we offering them solutions, and at what point do our products transcend into solutions?
Rocketseed became popular in South Africa and across the globe; we have offices in Australia, London and in New York. We are known for email media, we are known for our ability to enrich email into a powerful marketing tool.
But was this a solution or a product? This is the question that has kept us awake for many nights and eventually we realised that while our products can solve problems, they are not in themselves solutions. They needed to be redesigned and repackaged in a particular way for them to become a solution to a problem.
Understand what a solution really is all about
The latest, top of the line MacBook with multiple zeros of Gigabyte storage capacity is a product. But when you install software that allows your MacBook user to design amazing creations, then you have a product that is now enabled to solve problems. It’s still not a solution. You need to move further down that value chain to arrive at a solution. A solution first recognises the entirety of the problem. The solution is specific to the problem, although it may be utilised for other purposes, and from my experience, it is a process with several parts working to achieve a common goal.
A solution has results that are measurable against set objects. A solution requires expertise to give a product problem solving potential. This is what value-add is all about. A business can be designed for the sole purpose of developing and selling a product that another business can add into a value chain that results in a solution.
This in our view is the future we foresee in the software development space. Software will need to evolve into solutions rather than products with multiple possibilities. Businesses that offer services to other businesses need software that is value-added and empowered to solve specific problems. Granted, it must also have the flexibility to solve multiple problems, but it must be a solution driven offering or it remains just a product, losing its creators huge market potential.
In the eyes of your corporate clients, the value is in the solution, not the product, I am just relieved that we realised this simple fact early. This is the reason why we as Rocketseed have started to win so well.