When you think about life, humans or business we should all look at nature to see how animals have adapted for survival. One amazing animal is the Octopus.
The most obvious thing would be that Octopuses have 8 arms. Actually the arms are four sets of two. Aside from the arms, the Octopus's intelligence and adaptability is what makes it truly a unique animal. Some site that the Octopus has been around for over 400 million years and it has developed quite intelligent tricks to enable its survival.
The Octopus can:
1. NICHE: Fit into small spaces just like a business can serve niche parts of a market. Octopuses the size of your fist fit though the neck of a beer bottle and hide out from predators on the ocean floor. This flexibility enables it to get into tight areas free from harm.
Example for our Industry: Firstly with so much manufacturing that has gone to Asia simply making custom components is already considered somewhat a niche in the grand scheme of materials. A further niche could be a focus on complex parts that are thicker, sculputural panels, a focus on the closet industry or a focus on refacing.
A. Focus complex Parts such as thicker parts. If a company was to focus on this niche it would require them to enhance their CAD abilities and also to invest into a press than would make these deeper parts.
B. Sculptural Panels: If a company were to focus on this market they would have to invest into that specific tooling and also focus on building the rep or specification sales arms to succeed.
C. Closet Industry: If a company were to focus on this segment they would have to focus on bringing in 3D Laminates that matched the boards being most used in their market.
D. Refacing: If a company were focused this market they would need to develop match HPL backed thermofoils or possibly peel and stick backed product which companies like Dackor offer.
The point is that it is very difficult to be all things to all people and so its easier to focus on a Niche for not only survival but also to become the best at that niche. If your company attempted to serve all the markets then you wouldnt have the right press for the thicker parts, or the right tooling for the sculptural panels or all the board matches for the Closet Industry or would never quite develop the match system for refacing. In essence you'd probably get a bit accomplished of all the goals but never be the master of one. This dispersing of time and capital makes you vulnerable to the predators of the ocean who are either more focused or have the resources to accomplish all tasks.
2. ADAPTABILITY: When facing adversity many Octopuses change color to conceal themselves in coral or in the sand. They change and adapt just like businesses must change and adapt with market conditions. In fact, Octopus have been known to change colors to mimick lionfish, sea snakes and eels. This means that the Octopus is intelligent enough to have self awareness in order to aspire to be a more dangerous predator when its life is put in danger; Amazing if you think about it. In waters near islands, Octopuses have been known to grab two coconut shells that were bust in half and use them as shields to fend off its competitors of the sea.
Example for our Industry:
The first thing that comes to mind is the ability for a business to change with the times. Lets suppose that textures are becoming a trend and all your swatch books in the market have yesterday's colors however if you are adaptable you could quickly add the newest textures being offered to change the appearance of your swatch book offering to adapt to the image the market desire.
3. INK: When attacked in open water the Octopus will deploy ink and then disappear to a safer hiding spot. I used to live in Japan for several years and developed a taste for Octopus at the Sushi bar but when the Octopus releases the ink in open water it makes the water taste bad and reduces the desire for larger predators to continue pursuit.
Example for our Industry:
If you compare the example of the Octopus unleashing ink to make the water taste bad and hence think that the Octopus will taste bad imagine your company focusing on a niche industry while your competitors are spread out too thin. If you were focused on the reface market for example and all of your matches had complimentary HPL matches, you could process HPL back and even peel stick back then it would spoil the water for a would be competitor. A competitor would come in to eat your lunch only to taste the ink in the water and decide not to attack this market due the high barrier of entry you have created. I could apply this example to the Closet Industry, Sculptural Panels, or any other part of the market as well.
I hope that as I've used the example of the Octopus that you feel inspired to continue on your current path or for some you may, in fact, rethink how you are currently going about things and hopefully this article may inspire in some way.
Design Life blog
Color inspiration from around the world, backstories on design inspiration and informative articles about marketing, membrane pressing and personal development. Author Mark Viers delivers fresh content that will help you and your business grow and thrive.
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