Your goals today are clear: spend less, do more, and focus harder on revenue. Getting there requires a different mindset than what you might have entertained over the last few years. Here’s a different perspective, framed, if you’ll indulge me, around pirate ships.
In the 1700s, there were two strategic models for naval warfare: build and maintain a military fleet of salaried fighters, or commission private vessels and reward them according to results. The fleet often boasted superior firepower, more powerful lines of supply, and more precise battle tactics. Privateers were often scrappy boats led by maverick captains, undersupplied and often outgunned.
Given the current economic conditions, now is the time for privateers.
This is not a "bailout vs. not" perspective. This is not a "government vs. free marketplace perspective." Instead, within your own companies, I’m advocating that you consider your fleet (your existing practices, traditions, support structures, processes, and methods), and entertain the possibility that by changing some of your practices, there might be a better path to the gold (your business goals).
To drop the analogy for a moment, I’m advocating that you entertain trialing a new, sleeker business model outside of the framework of your existing business operations.
This mindset can be applied at many different levels, from the smallest of businesses, to a division within a midsized organization, to several levels in between. Don’t be hung up on the specific examples given above. Ask yourself instead whether you have a potential privateer captain in your ranks, whether there’s a standalone, revenue-driven business model that might be worth trialing, and how you might best launch your privateer rapidly and autonomously.
I’m living this business model today with my own company. It’s too soon to tell how the long term success is faring, but in the short term, we launched at the beginning of 2009 and picked up a half dozen clients within the first few weeks. Our revenue stream is strong, and as our model adapts, our prospects only seem to grow. I’m a privateer captain, and I invite you to consider the same perspective for your own organization.
What’s your take?