Every organisation that has seen some success has some form of a cash cow, which continues to grow and provide the fuel necessary for the organisation to invest in new products or services, which can bring in the next level of growth for the organisation.
It is also inevitable that at some point in time the growth in the cash cow would slow down. If by that time, the organisation doesn’t already have another product/service that can take the place of the cash cow, then the organisation is in troubled waters, when it comes to continuing to grow.
The general response, in this scenarios is for the leaders to do one of the following:
- Spend more money in advertising the cash cow, assuming that by spending more money (in the form of advertisement or offers), they will be able to continue the growth in the cash cow for some more time.
- Go out to acquire a product that can provide the growth for the organisation. Unfortunately, most such acquisitions don’t pan out well for the acquiring companies.
- Start an innovation project with the intention of creating the next high growth product internally.
Unfortunately, almost all of these efforts, while may work for a short term, will eventually come back to a stalled growth.
In their book “The Power of Little Ideas“,
The questions are as below:
- What is the key product?
- What is your promise for the key product?
- How will you innovate around the key product to satisfy the promise?
- How will you deliver the innovations?
He goes on to share how organisations as diverse as GoPro, Apple, Disney, SAP, Lego, CarMax and others found answers to their growth by finding answers to these questions and how they can lead any organisation to create a set of complimentary solutions that not only help continue the growth but can also lead to significant competitive advantage as your product strategy is no longer uni-dimensional but becomes multi-dimensional.
He also goes on to share some of the mines that organisations would need to be careful of when engaged in this approach and shares how to do so.
In conclusion, I think that most of what David shares in his book, is applicable to any organisation which has seen good success in a product category and wants to cement their growth and presence in their category. What is great about this approach is that this doesn’t require the organisation to bet their entire organisation or strategy on a new, untested product or service but find growth through existing, well tested products or services.
If you are tasked with growing an existing product or service that is showing signs of slowing down, do take some time and read the book – “The Power of Little Ideas” by David Robertson. He has a lot of insights that will benefit you in finding growth again.