Overview: Business opportunities, in their most basic form, are either decreases in cost or increases in revenue. Opportunities may include streamlining an existing process, restructuring the sequence of an existing process, or eliminating a process that is no longer needed. Other opportunities include expanding into new markets or increasing the revenue from existing customers.

The task to find a business opportunity requires a high-level analysis of procedures and processes. Efficiency and effectiveness are directly impacted by the way processes are performed. Assess these processes by considering turnaround time, error rate, and decision delays.

Identifying increases in revenue typically requires a marketing study or marketing analysis. The Farmer appreciates a high-level review of the total market, broken into key market segments. Opportunities for increased revenue through new products/services, or expansion into new customer segments are the two most common ways for demonstrating revenue opportunity.

Note: once an opportunity is identified, Business Scientists are exceptional at creating plans to fulfill the vision.

Considerations: Farmers typically have an intuitive sense of whether an envisioned effort has a reasonable chance of success. Farmers fundamentally look for revenue increase or cost reduction. Some business opportunities have both components. This task begins to identify opportunities for improvement – whether the opportunities are revenue or cost reduction. This task might identify out-of-date activities, or processes better enabled through technology.

Who understands the current processes? Who might have ideas about process improvements? Why do some processes seem to be so deeply entrenched, and others are flexible and not well documented? Who understands the current customer base and trends in the market? Why are the trends taking place?

Practices:

  • Identify subject matter experts and conduct a facilitated discussion.
  • Identify (5-20) primary processes performed by the group, department, or role.
  • Create and use a brainstorming tool to accompany this task.
  • Identify a few high potential opportunity areas related to a cost reduction.
  • Identify a few high potential opportunities for improved market penetration or increased revenue.
  • Classify and prioritize data into a few common themes.
  • Draft a synopsis of the results.
  • Provide copies to management and focus group participants and isolate the top ideas for continued work.