Skip to main content



This is a continuation of our Opportunity Everywhere series. I am going to focus on opportunities created by drones. In my last blog I discussed wearables. By discussing these products, my intent is to really open your mind up to the idea that you should be able to pick up the newspaper and see an opportunity for your business every day. Don’t get trapped into the mindset that you have to always look for a specific thing. Yes, that's good - - you always want to stay focused. You want to always make sure that you're capitalizing on what you do best because that's leverageable. It builds on your core, it helps you with your competitive differentiation. Doing what you do best is a huge formula or ingredient for success, but you may be missing some great opportunities that are not within the parameters of your exact search.

How do you really analyze what's going on in the business environment right now so that you can present what you do best to businesses that, at the moment, may not even know they need you? Let’s use drones as illustrations of this process, because you may not think that drones have anything to do with your business. These flying machines going around doing stuff here and there - that's kind of a hobby, recreation kind of thing, right? That's not something that impacts what you do. You’re in staffing; you’re in chemical manufacturing; you’re in construction. What would drones have to do with you?

Well, let's just think about this and let's talk about Henry Ford for example. Now it made a lot of sense that somebody would say, well, if I didn't have to deal with horses -- you know, you have to feed them; you have to care for them. They only live so long. They can only go so long a day. So then he decided he was going to make a horseless carriage. People thought he was crazy, but then it was proven that it could be done. The untold story about the horseless carriage is the industry that it created. I want you to think about the automobile industry as it exists today, and the opportunity that has been created for what we call “prom suppliers” (those suppliers that are direct to the car manufacturers: second tier, third tier, fourth tier). Just think about all the various services that a car manufacturer needs. You name it - from soup to nuts. They require medical services. They need construction to build plants. They need people skills. They need technology. They need pretty much everything. They buy computers, they buy refrigerators, they buy office supplies, they buy medical equipment, they buy just so many various things. It's staggering to start looking at what all they purchase - and only because someone decided that they wanted a horseless carriage. Think about what drones mean to the automobile or the transportation industry in general today. Yes -- major disruption. The whole notion that Amazon might actually be able to stop using vehicles is impactful. They're experimenting with using drones to actually deliver packages right now. Just imagine what that means if you have a company that has a fleet of vehicles for cargo services. I don't really care how big or small the cargo service is. What does that mean? How much savings might they have if they can abandon the cost of the fleet and move to drones, which at this point are unregulated. There is going to be a whole host of issues, but if it turns out that economic benefit is there, they’re going to find a way to get greater utilization of drones.

What does it mean if your business can bring a solution utilizing drones to an existing customer? Think about how you would deliver your service if either you were bringing a solution to them to use drones, or they were using drones and you anticipated some of their other needs that occur from using drones. For example, who's going to fly the drones? How are they going to be maintained? How do you train people on that? Where do you get the skills from the pilot, the drones or to do drone repair? What do you do if you have issues while the drones are in flight, or if they get some place and they get stuck or other kinds of things? What opportunities are created just by the mere fact that somebody is using a new technology? What are the additional technologies that they're going to need?

These issues are similar to what the horseless carriage was like. It's one thing to get it out. It's another to actually build it into a production facility. What might somebody need to support a horseless carriage industry? What might someone need to support a drone industry? What are going to be the impacts on the people, processes and technologies in that company, and how might my company help?

If you know that there is a new industry being created around drones, how might you insert your business into that industry? Now we are talking about the innovation and the type of thinking that actually helps fortune 500 companies advance their cause. Now you are looking at bringing innovation in, and now you are beginning to show them what it is your company can do to help them become more productive, to add more value, to save money, to reduce operating costs. You're now in that process where you're looking at just the mere fact that we're getting into driverless cars. If Uber, Lyft, and it looks like General Motors are actually looking at more self-driving cars, what's going to be the impact of that as companies begin to roll it out? And what might be the role you can play to help them adopt that technology into their business, because they're going to need
things that they haven't really thought of just yet -- and that's going to create huge opportunities for the supply base.

With these illustrations, I hope to open your mind to realizing that when you read the newspaper every single day, you should see opportunities for your business -- ways you can play in different parts of the fortune 500 supply chain, and take your business to levels you hadn't even begun to imagine.


Popular posts from this blog

Getting Business in Person

Today, we're going to discuss the secret to getting business at conferences, expos, meet-and-greets, any place where you are at forums where you get a chance to interact with representatives from corporations for some of the largest companies.           How many of you can identify with going to these events, walking up and down the hallways in these big convention centers, being excited about being able to get your product out there and let folks know about your wares? And you end up leaving and reflecting back on the day and saying, "Well, I got the website from 20 other companies, and I can fill out the supplier database, put my information in their supplier database, and when there's an opportunity, they'll reach out to me because I made such a connection with them."           Or they took your business card and said, "We'll have somebody follow up with you." Or you got the business card of everybody at the booth saying, "Hey, I just

Diversity vs minority owned; what's the difference?

A question that comes up frequently is, “What's the difference between diversity versus minority owned business?”    In the United States, minorities are African-American or Blacks, Mexican-Americans, Indian-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans. In other countries, such as South Africa, it means something slightly different. In Australia, New Zealand, it means something different. In Canada, it means something different.  In general, minorities, as a group, are country-specific and are considered to be underserved when compared to the majority.   Originally women were lumped in with this group, which confused many people. They were eventually classified as a specific group so people understood women were a minority group. To avoid confusion, we identified women as Women Business Enterprises to distinguish this group from Minority Business Enterprises. You've probably heard of acronyms such as MBE/WBE or M/WBE to indicate these two distinct groups. As

The #1 Rule to Landing a Corporate Contract

My entire professional career was based around designing, negotiating, implementing and managing strategic alliances. I did this from all three sides of the table:  as buyer, seller and minority business owner.   I started my career doing research for Shell Oil Company and eventually moved up to supply chain management work. Here I negotiated strategic alliances with some of the largest suppliers in the world.  You see, in the world of corporate, strategic alliances are tightly integrated relationships where resources are invested by both companies . The partnership allows for both businesses to prosper - clearly, a key component of the revenue driver, cost drivers or profitability.      In 2004, I decided to leave my corporate career and start my own company. I decided I was going to approach a friend of mine, who happened to be a supplier diversity manager, about doing a contract with her company (mind you, t his company is and was one of the top five largest oil and