The market is also changing for these “Willie Carrots” in the coming years. Old clients are falling away and competitors are taking advantage of your inhibiting lead. New companies are popping up that, in addition to innovative techniques, are using innovative sales channels. Time to hook up!
Technical companies tend to be internally focused. It’s all about the product. When I talk to mechanical engineers, ICT people, developers, I am quickly swept up in their enthusiasm about their product. The market comes second, and the moment we start talking about the market, it often turns out that finding that market is more of a challenge than developing high technology. Too bad, because even more beautiful than making a beautiful product is to deliver this product to customers and earn a living from it.
I’m kicking in a bit of an open door, but I want to mention them anyway, because I find that the tips below are regularly forgotten by businesses:
Think about new uses for your existing products.
A manufacturer of Life Support Systems for hospital birthing wards found a new market by also offering its product to zoos, where there was an almost equivalent need to monitor newborns.
Take a good look at your proposition and ask yourself if that’s where your real qualities lie.
I spoke to a manufacturer of aluminum tanks who was looking for a new market. When we found out that he was more than a supplier of aluminum tanks and could manufacture all kinds of other products with the same production process, we decided to broaden his production range. This allowed him to enter new markets, where people use formed aluminum products.
Who have you delivered to in the past?
A manufacturer of concrete mixers, in its 70 years of existence, had not properly mapped out where its products were. Fortunately, the occasional existing customer called for maintenance or replacement. By setting up a good program to add to this history, the company now has a database containing all its products and service parts. As a result, maintenance on the old generation of mixers is now a valuable addition to the company’s package.
Traditional craftsmanship is one of the industries we like to be proud of in the Netherlands. Traditions also need to innovate. Only then will our entrepreneurs develop sustainable businesses that can compete with foreign countries.