Mankind made the daring choice a couple thousand years ago to quit being hunters and instead, become farmers. Most of them came to the conclusion that living a fairly comfortable and predictable life was better than living one filled with danger and continuous migration. Although this may seem like they made a good choice, this decision caused mankind to become lazy and content, which has really impacted us today.
Just take a look at any business industry. Leaders have the same mentality as those farmers; indifferent, frightened, or not open to change. Therefore, there are more cases of failure than success. A few do still have the mentality that of a hunter, though, since they don’t second guess their actions, are remorseless and are risk takers. Those are the kind of people that you need to look up to.
Three “Farmer Traps”- complacency, repetition and overprotectiveness- stand in the way of success
Each business executive thinks that they have the capacity to succeed. They know they’ve got the brains to get things done, and have the persistency to get over any barrier that may get in the way. On the other hand, failure is the least surprising thing in business. This is because the leaders, the ones in fast-changing industries especially, often become caught in one of the three traps of the famer.
The first trap is complacency. This results in leaders who no longer push themselves once they’ve accomplished something.
For example, Smith Corona was once a large typewriter manufacturer. However, they became complacent, and thus didn’t evolve while their marketplace did. They had removed themselves from a joint venture with Acer, a big computer company, in 1990 because they thought that their company was strong enough to handle any changes in the market. As a result, unfortunately, only three years after, they ended up going bankrupt since they were completely obliterated by the developing computer industry.
Likewise, the second farmer trap happens after you do the same things that had initially brought you success and had made the false assumption that it would do the same for you in the future.
Look at Blockbuster Video, they had fallen into this exact trap and eventually, were swallowed. In 2009, they had about 9,000 different stores and 60,000 employees. Since they had continued on focusing their resources on franchising and physical media, they had failed to adjust to the streaming market and thus, went bankrupt only a year later.
The last trap deals with being protective. This happens when businesses make boundaries for themselves to secure their status quo, which hinders progress.
Kodak, for example, had definitely skipped out on great opportunities. This film manufacturer had been too protective of their high standings in the analog film market, and thus made the mistake of not investing resources towards digital innovation. They declared bankruptcy in 2012.
Cultivate your “Hunter Instincts”- insatiability, curiosity and a willingness to destroy
As we’ve learned previously, it is not difficult whatsoever to fall into one of the three farmer traps. However, there are ways to prevent that. You just need to develop the three hunter instincts.
First and foremost, don’t let yourself be complacent. In fact, be the opposite- be insatiable. That way, you’ll be constantly looking for the next opportunity, which is the foundation of the first hunter instinct.
Take, for example, Capital One Bank, who are steered by this instinct. This bank streamed all of their resources into both innovation and experimentation after the financial crisis of 2008. In the end, they ended up having a portfolio of low-risk assets since through innovation, they had profitably adjusted to the marketplace whereas their competitors had struggled with credit difficulties.
The second instinct of a hunter is to eliminate the thought of repeating what got you there and instead look at the situation with curiosity to get inspired with a new idea. There isn’t any other way for you to locate new trends and create the next success for your business than to take advantage of innovation. When something begins to evolve, people begin creating interesting ideas to link fields in manors that are unimaginable. However, you need to be curious if you want to make those links.
Look at entrepreneur Ron Finley. His Los Angeles neighborhood was where he got his inspiration, which led him to be successful in different areas such as fashion, urban gardening and social outreach.
The last hunter instinct enforces our strive to dominate. There’s no need to be protective and careful when you need to be ready to let go of your safety net if you want the chance to get new ideas and opportunities. Chef Eric Ripert really pushes that idea since that’s exactly what has helped him succeed for decades. For example, he’s held onto the strongly desired three-star Michelin rating for many years even though he’s just always getting rid of old menus so that he can begin again and adjust to the new.
Now that we know how to bring out our inner hunter instincts, we need to learn how to put them into use.
Determine future business trends by following the six patterns of opportunity, starting with Convergence and Divergence
Let’s try to apply your hunter instincts to six scenarios, or patterns of opportunity. This way, you’ll be able to figure out what the newest business models and products are, which will make you a force to be reckoned with.
The first two patterns that we’ll cover are convergence and divergence. Convergence means that you need to make market disarray beneficial to you by making an opportunity for yourself with shuffling and incorporating the right trends. Connecting various services and items will help you with coming up with the leading idea.
For example,the successful iPhone fitness app, “Zombies, Run!,” uses convergence by utilizing three factors. They use GPS technology, in the fruitful fitness market with the very popular trend of zombies. As a result, putting together attractive patterns and industries together is the perfect way to give value to your consumers.
Divergence, which is the second pattern, uses a different method. Here, you climb over your competition to the top by using a different and unusual perspectives that stray from the very crowded mainstream. You can do so by creating an item that seems threatening or gives off a high status vibe such as being luxurious.
The way to pull off this method is through marketing. If you want to be different from the rest of your competition, then you need to make your biggest weakness your biggest strength.
You can look up to Red Bull for inspiration. They became of the most profitable beverage companies even though they barely have a tangible product. They gained success with crazy good marketing methods that helped consumers views them as a fun and different brand. They demonstrated how if you use the right marketing method, then you can control with divergence to make successful items and services that differ from the rest.
Harness the power of momentum by using Cyclicality and Redirection to create a competitive advantage
The next two patterns of opportunity that we are going to cover are Cyclicality and Redirection. Use these two methods to rein in the power of momentum. You can do so by predicting trends and finding ways to use trends that never go out of style like retro appeal, nostalgia, economic cycles as well as generational patterns.
When it comes to cyclicality, you need to have a feeling about history to let you look into the future, and expect what will happen next. This is a very influential way of finding yourself opportunity. Businesses such as liquor brands and auto manufacturers, fashion brands and food items, have all figured out how to refresh their enterprises by looking into revolving patterns and using nostalgia to their advantage.
Look at Instagram, for example. This app puts together nostalgia with the social media photo-sharing trend. They combine these basic features and others like allowing users to post their own photos with a vintage filter which is why this app is well-known around the globe.
The goal of redirection is to carry the power of either a trend or a behaviour. You do so by either refocusing, reprioritizing or reversing it. In other words, you use the art of “spin”, which is when you transform a potentially negative story by using the speed of the trend to your benefit and by creating an appetite for your product throughout the entire journey.
With a nicely devised redirection, you can flip a negative story into an attractive one just like Volvo did with their slogan, “They’re boxy but they’re good”. This successful campaign that they created got people to pay attention to their safety features which counterbalanced their unpopular look. That really helped them boost their sales.
Tap into Reduction and Acceleration- two patterns of opportunity- to carve out a market niche
The last two patterns of opportunity are reduction and acceleration. Both of these are confirmed approaches for discovering a specific market, making a business idea that will dominate all others and helping you turn into a better innovator, decision-maker, and investor.
In order for reduction to occur, you need to pinpoint the niche consumers with an item or service that is different from the others because of how simple it is. This way, you can get to the heart of a business concept with the help of crowdsourcing and localization to get rid of any parts that you don’t need.
Just analyze and then delicately get rid of any difficult layers from the items that you already have to become valuable and gain some success in a little market. That will increase the number of possibilities that you’ll have.
You can take a look at GoPro to get a better understanding of reduction. This simple, wide-angle, two-button camera has resulted in an audience that can’t not take them on their adventurous journeys.
The last pattern of opportunity is acceleration. It depends on a routine of perfecting, exaggerating, recreating or relocating a main concept in a product to be distinct from the rest of the competition. Therefore, you need to analyze a key part of an existing item or business concept that you need to radically improve upon. You need to find out what makes that idea great and how you can make it even greater so that you can capture the attention of consumers.
Take a look at Dyson. This company made itself the worldwide standard for high-end vacuums when they remade the vacuum by making the most powerful one on the market. Although it took 5,127 prototypes, in the end, it was worth it since in 1991, James Dyson actually won the International Design Fair prize for that incredibly powerful and efficient vacuum.
Identify a “hunting ground” by narrowing your focus and tracking your chosen industry
So, how do you wake up your “inner hunter”? Easy, just become acquainted with those six patterns of opportunity described earlier so that you can begin to zoom in your focus and concentrate solely on a really good business idea.
Hitting gold with a successful idea is obviously easier said than done. However, the main goal is to create a “hunting ground” and to find a bundle of opportunity such as a group of items, services or concepts with related plans. Afterward, you can utilize the six patterns of opportunity to recreate the main idea and make it unique.
However, don’t put up barriers in your hunting ground by only researching and getting ideas that are related. On the other hand, look outside of your closest market to discover interesting methods to related goals. That’s how you can make something that is really special.
For example, take a look at how Karl Lagerfeld used convergence to make a “Double Business”. Instead of using a plain pop-up store concept, this artist put together a pop-up fashion shop with an art gallery.
However, regardless of the industry that you are in, you need to know how to predict future trends prior to them actually happening. Fortunately, if your hunting ground is the movie, fashion, tech, retail, broadcast media or food industry, you can take advantage of the six patterns to look for opportunities in the long run.
For instance, in the fashion industry, retailers such as Zara and H&M have gained success by giving their customers a larger selection to choose from. Zara, for example, became one of the fastest-growing retailers by increasing the production process and by giving their customers the choice of thousands of different products at any time. In fact, their production process only takes 14 days to get a new product out into stores.
So, what’s the next move? If you put convergence into use in the fashion industry, then you can forecast the growth of a trend such as wearable technology, 3D printed clothes, and many others. Those who find out how to make money off of those trends today, will be the leaders in the future.
Today, the marketplace is much more unpredictable and disorganized than it has ever been. If you want to be successful in such an environment, then you can’t be afraid of changed. As a result, you need to wake up your inner hunter and take advantages of the patterns of opportunity. Not only will you be able to adjust easier and survive, but you’ll also be able to thrive.
One of the most enduring and widespread patterns of opportunity is cyclicality. Regardless of the industry that you are in, you can utilize this pattern by using these four tips.
Keep in mind that there will be repetition so keep a lookout for hints that could possibly lead you towards opportunity.
Make sure that you take action immediately. Recurring opportunities are sometimes brief.
Expect evolution. Be ahead of the competition by getting ready for the future.
Look past what everyone else is looking at. Big forces and firms can spew opportunity so really look into those opportunities that aren’t as obvious.