Where do I Look for New Opportunities?
I recently wrote about simple ways to look for new opportunities. I
covered the HOW but not the WHERE. The "Where To Look" is far more
complex than the "How To Look." But as an early mentor taught me, look
to your strengths. Look
at your assets. As he taught me, if the railroad people of the 1920s
realized that they were in the transportation business and not the
railroad business, they would be controlling the airline, trucking, and
shipping business today. They, at the time, had the resources (think
dollars) to control all the transportation business of the day.
I was fortunate to grow up with Procter & Gamble, a company that
really started to grow about the time I started with them (1951). They
knowledge of detergency to expand rapidly. When I started in 1951, Tide
was about 5 years old. We think of Tide as a laundry detergent but a
known fact is that in 1951, Tide was the leading dishwashing detergent.
the19 50s, they used their detergency knowledge to introduce nine new
brands to the market (Cheer, Gleem, Dash, Cascade, Crest, Comet, Ivory
Liquid, and Mr. Clean). In the 1960s they used their knowledge to
introduce six more brands (Head & Shoulders, Top Job, Safeguard,
Bold, Gain, and Biz). The 1970s followed with nine new detergency
products and the 1980s saw the introduction of 13 more new products
grounded in detergency. Basically P&G did not look at their Oxydol
business (1914) as a laundry business but as a cleaning business. They
explored all areas pertaining to cleaning that they could think of.
even explored the commercial laundry and dry cleaning business. I was a
of a four member team headed up by Bob Cannon V.P. that looked into the
of commercial laundries and dry cleaning establishments.
A point closer in time is Procter's adventure onto the pet food
business where five years ago they purchased the Iams brand. It did not
take them long
to say we are not in the pet food business, we are in the pet care
business. The result has been a stream of new foods aimed at pet health
care, namely weight control formulas, antioxidant blends, and tarter
fighting ingredients. If you thing pet health care, how about
magnetic resonance imaging for
pets. Yes, Iams branded MRIs for cats and dogs, they are coming. We
companies that are offering pre-paid funerals and burial plots. Why
there, how about Iams branded insurance for pets? As A.G. Lafley CEO
"We're offering consumers peace of mind."
Of the two product line innovations listed above, one focuses on an
attribute (cleaning), while the other centers on a category (pet care).
Consider other P&G lines of interest, from Diapers to Baby Care,
from Laundry Detergents to Fabric Care, from Hair Care to Cosmetics,
and from Toothpaste to Oral Care.
line, look to your strengths, your resources, and your areas of