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Are you looking for opportunities where the starts aren’t?

I wanted to tell you very quickly about a cool story that I thought that has always sort of, stuck home with me over the years.

Many years ago I was involved with a program working with underprivileged children where we used to use scuba diving and sailing as a backdrop to help children unearth their real talent, their potential, and stretch their comforts zones.

One of the exercises we did with some kids that we worked with in Australia, is that we took them up to the Whitsunday Islands, and we took them to one of the islands to do some stargazing at night. We decided to take a professional stargazer with us to show us some of the key constellations and different sorts of star patterns out there. As we were looking, the stargazer was showing us all these different constellations and things, but then towards the end, he said, now, I want you to see if you can find the Platypus. 

So I spent about 15, 20 minutes with these kids looking up, just trying to see, where’s this Platypus, I couldn’t see this Platypus anywhere. Then what he said is, just stop for a second and stop looking at the stars, and start looking where the stars aren’t. 

That was interesting because then after about five minutes of looking where there weren’t any stars in the sort of, the dark patches or the patches where there weren’t any stars visible, you could slowly start seeing almost a perfect formation of the shape of a Duckbill Platypus.

What a wonderful analogy I think, to take with you as a child, as an adult, and in business, when it comes to things like business development, and penetrating markets because I think we spend a lot of time working with what we know, but actually what a wonderful way of looking at it, to try and find opportunities, unearth opportunities where the stars aren’t.

Now if you think about anything recruitment, I was making a list of some of the areas where I think, there’s some much opportunity here that we’re just missing, that we need to focus on because we’re too busy focusing on the stars and not necessarily where the stars aren’t.

We’re doing a lot of work recently around Blue Ocean Strategy, there is a document link here (Blue Ocean Strategy)  With a whole load of information about how to get Blue Ocean Strategy in your thinking and your business planning for 2020.

As recruitment leaders, we need to be thinking around things around penetrating our customer base.

Are we cross-selling?

Are we upselling as much as we could be?

Have you mapped out how much market share you have within each of your existing customers?

Have you identified what your customer lifetime value is? And what percentage of that do you currently have?

Have you identified how many of your products and different service lines, if you have multiple products, multiple service lines, are your existing customers buying?

What is your strategy, your innovation, your incentives within your business to make sure that people are cross-selling and upselling a lot more than potentially they are today?

I think that’s a massive opportunity that we’re missing.

Also, from outside of your existing customers, looking at your product mix, we talk a lot about the Boston Matrix, the types of products that you should have in your Matrix, but certainly thinking about the types of products you should be developing or taking to market, in tomorrow’s markets, especially in 2020.

You’ve done all that work to get that business, how do you get more out of them?

So I think it’s a wonderful analogy to think about as your looking for strategies for 2020.

It’s not just looking up at the stars and thinking where are the stars, but also looking where no one else is looking where the stars aren’t.