(Time to read this Blog is about 3 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking:

  1. My biz quote of the week:

“Search for the right staff as if your life depends on it…because it does. When you’re hiring, do you look for talent or bodies?  If you’re looking for bodies, you’ll settle for bodies.  But, if you’re looking for talent, you won’t stop until you find talent.”

…Donald Cooper

  1. This is the time of year for baking cookies: Every December I offer my 2 fav cookie recipes…and we always get great feedback!  Here they are:
    A) The first is for the best Traditional Shortbread Cookies you’ll ever make…and so simple. This recipe, for melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies, has only 4 ingredients. To download the recipe, click here

    B) The second recipe is for amazing Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal and Pecan Cookies that were originally made famous by a small bakery in Dorset, Ontario. We used to fly to Dorset in my brother’s floatplane just to buy these great cookies. They were that good. But, one day, the bakery owner did a costing on the cookies and determined that he was losing money. So, rather than just put up the price, he stopped offering his best seller. The cookie that made him famous!
    There’s a great business lesson here for all of us, and it’s this, “Do whatever you do really, really well…and then have the guts to charge a decent price for it.” Remember, nobody will ever think you’re worth more than you do.
    Anyway, back to the cookies. The lady who worked in the bakery took pity on us and secretly gave us the famous recipe…and now, we share it with you. Just click here.

  2. A great Christmas Gift idea that makes a real difference.  Most of the folks on your gift list don’t need another pair of sox or bottle of wine.  How about giving them a pair of goats. Well, you don’t actually give them the goats. You donate a pair of goats, in their name, to a village in Africa or South America. This is easily organized through the wonderful folks at Plan Canada who make it all happen.  For just $160, two goats will make a huge difference in a family’s life. 

    If you’d like to make a difference in the true spirit of this season, consider these two wonderful options. You can connect to Plan Canada by clicking here.

  3. Cooper’s free Biz Tool of the week:  As you look toward 2021 and beyond, what or who might disrupt your market, your industry and your business?  In disruption there is both crisis and opportunity. This week’s free Biz Tool, #A-5, reveals Donald’s 12 types of disruption that you can use to create opportunity.  To download, just click here.  

Now, to this week’s important topic:

Are you creating or embracing ‘the next’ in your business?                                                

In these challenging times, it’s so easy to focus on survival and stop working on creating innovative new products, services and experiences that will give us the long-term competitive advantage that we need.  “Yes”, we need to work on survival…but we also need to focus on renewal.

Hitachi, the Japanese electronics company, has chosen as its brand positioning statement ‘Inspire the Next’.  I think they’d be much better off with, ‘Creating the Next’.  It’s great to be ‘inspired’, but we need

to get off our butts and use that inspiration to actually create something extraordinary. 

When we ‘create the next’, we’re no longer an undifferentiated commodity; boring and beaten up on price. We’re now exciting, fresh and in front of the pack.

Are you ‘creating the next’ in your business, in your market and in your industry…or would your company’s slogan more realistically be, “Catching up to what was”?

Realistically, you will not have the budget or expertise to create ‘the next’ in every part of your business.  But you certainly can embrace the new technologies, the new thinking and new directions created by others. 

What is the ‘next’ that you must create or embrace to be a clearly differentiated, profitable market leader in 3 to 5 years?  What does that ‘next’ look like?  Can you picture it?  How much time do you even spend thinking about stuff like this?

So, what could you do in your business, right now to:

  1. Create or embrace the next ‘big idea’ in added value or product and service innovation. Think ‘amazing’ here! Think and feel like a customer. Think, “What has never been done before?” 
  2. Create the next new way that you’ll communicate your compelling value in a way that ‘grabs’ your target customers, clearly differentiates you from your competitors, adds value, builds relationships and makes you famous.  Remember, if you can’t effectively communicate your value, it doesn’t exist. 
  3. Develop the next new business model that will transform your industry. Think Costco, Amazon.com and Southwest Airlines.  How will business be done in your industry in 5 years…and what will you do to lead the way?  There’s no point ‘fine tuning’ your current business model if it’s about to become obsolete.
  4. Create or embrace the next technology to change what you do, or how you do it in every part of your business. I think here of a magnificent custom cabinet manufacturing business in Kansas that I worked with last year who embraced technology and processes that I thought would never be possible in the woodworking business.
  5. Develop or embrace the next level of operational efficiency that will give you a significant cost advantage over your competitors. World-class operating efficiency is essential in every part of every business. Without it, you’ll perish.
  6. Create an extraordinary internal business environment (culture) that makes you the place where the best people in your industry want to work, contribute and stay. The best people have to work for somebody.  It’s just that you have to deserve them.

In summary, just keep asking the one simple question that will transform every part of your business, “What’s possible…and what’s next?”…then create or embrace ‘the next’.  You can’t do everything at once, but something can always be ‘next’.

Now, here’s the bad news. If you’re not creating or at least embracing ‘the next’ in these six key areas of your business, you’re falling behind…and ‘behind’ is a very bad place to be.

That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly…and do at least 3 important or kind things each day!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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