Discovering The Next Big Thing

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TME-MHammondEvery leader is looking for the next big thing in their business. More than ever, leaders are looking for answers that represent minimal risk, optimal financial benefit and immediate marketplace impact. Unfortunately, many leaders don’t know where the answers lie, as they are being challenged to find the right solutions for their most pressing needs – quickly.

Because we now operate in a change management infused world, it makes it difficult to identify the right strategies for survival and growth – as we continue to get lost within the demands of business necessity just to stay afloat. We keep solving for problems that could have been avoided if the right strategies had been properly thought out and successfully deployed. As such, we are all experiencing renewal and reinvention in our businesses.

In the article “5 Strategies For Discovering The Next Big Thing In Your Business” by Glenn Llopis, he says, “It’s time to focus our attention on seeing beyond the obvious, and I can’t agree more.”

For example, one thing that has certainly become much more obvious, according to Llopis, is that we operate in a short-term, talent-based, rapid-paced, and trust-demanding world of work that has become more diverse and personally branded than ever before. There are many different types of people, attitudes and demands to serve. Business is becoming increasingly complex during a time when we all seek to simplify it.

Additionally, he says, there is a paradigm shift we are all experiencing. During the pre-2008 recessionary times, an organization and their brands had the power to push (what appeared to be) unlimited budgets that were used to heavily influence employee engagement and consumer demand.

Simply put: That control and balance of power has now shifted.

Survival mode has become the strategy for many businesses that feel the pressure of dealing with the increased costs of both employee and consumer acquisition and retention. Many businesses spend an extraordinary amount of time on satisfying the immediate needs of their employees and consumers to sustain any momentum that remains in sight.

Why? Individuals have much more control over businesses and brands than ever before. Top talent is becoming more difficult to hold onto as the competitive landscape gets stronger and organizations invest less to develop and retain them. Employees have been forced into a position where they must not only manage the brands of the organization they serve – but also their own personal brands.

Equally, with more choices in front of them, consumers have options and more intelligence to make purchasing decisions. Consumers have become much more fragmented and it’s difficult to cast a wide enough net to engage them with a one-size-fits-all approach. The rising popularity of social media and growing community clusters require businesses to have a much deeper relationship with their consumers to earn their trust and loyalty.

With the new realities that companies are being faced with – how do they most effectively course correct? The answers lie right in front of them – they must have a greater strategic focus on maximizing the relationships, skill-sets, competencies, engagement needs, and the know-how that lies within their respective employees and consumers.

To get your journey started in search of the next big thing in your business, Llopis provides five surefire strategies that will help guide you toward the answers you are looking for – by creating a path of momentum and opportunities for growth previously unseen in your organization.

1.) Leadership Must Align with Your Business Model

It’s difficult to see beyond the obvious when an organization’s leadership is not in complete alignment with its business goals and objectives. Many organizations today find themselves at risk with complacent leadership that continues to grow fragmented as business models change and the requirements for success no longer align with the current skill-sets, capabilities and know-how of its leaders.

In his article, Llopis shares that he asked a CEO of a Fortune 150 company to describe the company’s culture in one word. The response, “comfortable.” When he mentioned that comfortable is associated with a high-risk profile, he agreed but didn’t know how to fix the problem. This scenario is more prevalent than many would imagine. The solution is to step-back and recalibrate your leadership team and solidify its identity to assure that it is capable of achieving the mission and vision of the organization – and to assure that all levels of leadership are in equal alignment and supporting one another.

It’s impossible to discover the next big thing for your business when the leadership teams within a company represent disjointed, disparate parts – rather than a convergence of intelligence and know-how that is in sync and strongly interconnected. In the mortgage space you see this a lot. The boom days of sales people just being order-takers are over. Everyone has to fight for every deal these days. However, I’m not sure that mentality has made its way to the top. Too often upper management doesn’t challenge their sales people and they also don’t give them the tools that they need to sell. Times are changing in mortgage lending and the successful company going forward will have tighter teams that are on the same page, helping each other as the situation requires.

2.) Brands Must Focus on Advancing Humanity

Branding has become less about what consumers really need and more about what matters most to brands – and what they think consumers want. With so much competition and the rising cost of consumer acquisition, brands are attempting to hyper-stimulate artificial demand through a flurry of tactics designed to get consumers to pay attention to them. It feels like every day there is a new product or service that a brand is pitching that is the ultimate solution for a particular problem – one that most didn’t even know existed.

Why does every LOS claim to be end-to-end? Because they feel like they have to say that. They feel like that’s what all their competitors say and that’s what lenders want, so they all just adopt that phrase. The problem is that end-to-end loses its meaning and in the end nobody really knows what it means anymore.

Consumers want brands to stop selling them so hard and start educating them on things that matter most to them. Consumers want brands to be more authentic about how they engage with them and allow them to play a more hands-on role in “the next big thing” – rather than feeling that it is being forced upon them.

In the end, brands must focus on advancing humanity by being more socially responsible. Consumers want brands to help them live a better life and increase their quality of living. Consumers, much like corporate leaders in search of the next big thing, simply want brands to focus on the fundamentals of satisfying their hierarchy of needs – rather than trying to sell them something that inflicts fear or feels forced in support of a trend that may come and go in a moment’s notice.

Really, in the end it boils down to return on investment. What’s in it for the lender? There has to be a clear value proposition that goes beyond throwing standard buzzwords out there hoping that something will stick. The selling process needs to be personal and unique to each new client in order for it to result in a sale. If the lender thinks that you’re reading off of a script, I doubt that you’re going to get the sale.

Next month, I’ll give you three more tips on how you can find the next big thing for your business, so stay tuned …

About The Author


Michael Hammond

Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at