TURNING DORMANT OPPORTUNITIES INTO NEW BUSINESS
By Stephen J. Kirchoff and Tom Camp
Many executives are discovering new systematic ways to identify and leverage “lazy assets” into growth and revenue opportunities, new businesses, or competitive advantages that meet unmet/unknown needs in direct or adjacent markets.
Turning lazy assets into new opportunities offers a variety of advantages in a recovering economy. By their definition, lazy assets already embody a significant investment. They are aligned with existing business and markets. It’s less capital and resource intensive to develop lazy assets into business opportunities or optimize their performance, rather than starting something new.
Examples of lazy assets include:
Intellectual Property that has been created by the business
Customer Order Data that has never been mined for business intelligence
Partner Relationships that haven’t been examined for business extensions
Services that could be leveraged from a current product offering
Products (or services) that could be packaged with other products (or services) to create unique offerings
Assets that could be contributed to form an alliance
Also consider opportunities for value innovation made possible through better use of these assets. (Value innovation is applying assets to create powerful leaps in value for the business and the businesses customers, rendering rivals obsolete and unleashing new demand.)
A lazy asset by itself may not constitute sufficient value to create a new business opportunity. However, it is possible to create new assets by combining existing lazy assets or by developing new assets from processes and procedures that already exist or require optimization. For example, you may be able to dramatically increase the value of a lazy asset (a customer data base) by gathering additional segmentation information during routine customer interactions such as sales calls.
The first step in identifying lazy assets is to rank potential outcome objectives. That is, what benefits will be gained from any new business opportunity? For example, the objective could include outcomes like increasing revenue, expanding a customer base, or improving the valuation of the business for a potential exit. These objectives will help guide in the selection of which lazy assets to further evaluate.
Next, schedule time away from the business for the executive team (and others who have unique knowledge about the organization) to hold a “brain-storming” workshop focused on reviewing the business model through the lens of the new objective(s). It’s critical to identify a neutral third party to lead this effort to avoid the common pitfall of a familiar team simply rehashing old ideas.
Once the lazy assets have been identified, a simple classification scheme will help determine how to address their full potential. For example:
Underperforming – Use this classification for assets that are not delivering their full potential as envisioned by the current business model and plans.
Underleveraged – Assets that are not only underperforming, but are not being used to their fullest potential.
Unique – Assets that provide a unique competitive advantage, or to a possible future business opportunity.
Unrecognized – Intellectual property or other assets that are not currently considered as possible assets in a broad sense
After an initial review, select the one or two lazy assets that appear to offer the greatest business potential based on the outcome objectives identified earlier. Next, evaluate the business potential of these assets through a detailed opportunity assessment – a full review of the opportunity culminating in the definition of a launch plan, investment plan, and a pro-forma business operation plan.
Stephen Kirchoff and Tom Camp are partners in Kirchoff & Camp, a boutique strategic advisory firm focused on helping mid-tier, public and private companies convert lazy assets into new business opportunities. firstname.lastname@example.org
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