What can I say about this? Much as I would love to cast it away as a heretic misdeed by a teenager, my daughter would certainly find it ok – go break all rules. I have this bald pate and so I am tempted to put a caveat to it – as long as they are breakable.
In my business, I’ve broken many rules. I freely mix people and their ideas. I take ideas that worked in one industry and have pasted it on something that seemed so opposite. But the goddamn thing worked ! Like hell. I have applied ideas that worked with good startup teams to expansion stage companies. They had worked well too as far as I could remember. With one client, I had suggested tinkering with its supply chain framework to increase productivity by reducing cost of sales. To strip down direct sales and to engage more re-sellers. These moves were simply abhorred by the management as it has never been tried in that (medical electronics) industry. I had seen it working efficiently in a software solutions client of mine earlier. They expected a customer /salesforce backlash. I stuck with it and reassured them nothing of the sort would come. With great doubts, it got executed as a pilot. To their surprise, the customers / sales guys loved it. Customers have a local contact and a faster access to service. Sales guys now traveled much lighter, much lesser. Who doesn’t love to be with the family? They coordinate with re-sellers and customers much better over cell phones now. For the company, the travel cost savings were straight additions to the bottomline and they have more manpower available to service more customers. Further such savings can be used as a buffer to resist any upward revision in prices mandated by the industry up ahead in future. In the end, a distinct competitive advantage…
The net effect was reflected in the company’s results for the next quarter. Sales grew by 60% and with that the profits too. My starting point has been a valuation dispute between the management and a VC firm. With this kind of results, it would’ve been easier for me to convince the VCs to up their offer. But I’ll let you in on a secret; I couldn’t do the deal because now the owners no longer wanted to let go off the business.
I have a strategy consulting assignment with them now. Came home not tired, but pleasantly weary that evening. What I had lost on the deal, I made good on stronger relationships with their entire sales team and especially VP – Sales besides the management. My wife spoofed me for losing out on the deal. But I happily wrote in my diary – “a great deal to lose.”