There’s a family ran furniture store operated by a third-generation owner named Daniel. She’s bright, educated, and highly experienced; after all, she grew up around the business. As the story about her business unfolds, imagine what you would do in her position.
The Family Furniture Store has grown to 7 brick-and-mortar stores and most of their business comes from surrounding residents and business in the urban areas. They have built a strong foundation for the business but lately profits are declining.
The Business isn’t performing the way it once did? Why?
Sales overall have been less than previous years, but their E-Commerce stores is the greatest source of lost sales. This is at a time when you’d think online sales would increase. Daniel wonders what to do about it. What would you do about it?
At first, Daniel was overwhelmed with how to come up with solutions for this problem. The more she thought about, the more questions arose. One day she came across a structured way to diagnose her business, determine where she was, and where she wanted to go.
She assessed the situation. Retail costs are higher, and E-commerce margins are shrinking. Bigger brands are taking over. She discovered during this process of self-analysis that there were missed opportunities. Her inventory didn’t offer the wide variety that some of the other stores did. The urban areas had a combination of rental apartments and new single-family homes.
She also took a few weeks to articulate her strategic ambition and her unique competitive advantage. Many businesses trying to refine their strategic advantage by starting with technology. While technology can be a source of inspiration, everyone has access to the same technology. That’s not where most businesses create their competitive advantage. Strategy is where creating a competitive advantage happens. The people and culture of innovation will sustain it. Technology and communications deliver the strategy.
A Good Strategy Has 3 Component
Problems arise when one of these components are missing.
Daniel realized, after having gone through a detailed self-analysis and review of what customers want (including the number of customers, etc.,..), that the role of the company had to change, and to do that, she had to change the business. Her next decision was bold and courageous. Courageous because there was no guarantee of success. She was only certain she couldn’t stay where she was. Her strategy was to innovate her services and the entire business model itself.
Daniel’s Preparation for Transformation
The resource requirements for Family Furniture had to change if Daniel’s plan for transforming her business stood a chance of success. She was moving from being one of many furniture sellers to a more exclusive pioneer inventing some new way of doing business. So that required a shift of resources from the time-intensive retail model to the absolute focus and attention of senior leaders. Senior leaders must dedicate the time required to innovate their business model. This is the only way a strategy can be developed.
STRATEGY LEADS TECHNOLOGY
As Daniel’s business picked up, her technology needs changed dramatically. She had to build specific apps to enable tenants to take pictures that was due to be returned. AI had to identify the furniture as being part of the Family Furniture inventory. More often than not, rental furniture due to returned to the warehouse, were sold off the website before it could even leave the house.
As Daniel’s business grew into a second-hand and furniture rental market. She had to gain new knowledge and make a new network of connections in order to make this transformation happen. By going through a structured process, she was able to gain enough insight to begin having the right conversations and instruct the technologist what she needed. It was not having the technologist show up at dictate to her what she needed.
Daniel took the time and energy necessary to develop a strategic plan based on evidence, educated guessing, and determination to see how to add value to her community of customers.
We’d welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with you about how technology can implement your strategy in ways you never thought possible.
Please call us at (888) 753-5060.