Disruption happens eventually across most industries, where technology and innovation change the face of an industry forever. Yet with change can come opportunity – in this case with government.
Many readers will know that we frequently run Winning Government Business workshops on behalf of Small Business Victoria. This month I’ve presented a series of more tailored workshops — speaking to regionally based taxi business owners and operators about diversifying their services in light of considerable industry changes. In this case the arrival of Uber.
Government is encouraging the taxi industry to diversify by seeking and creating new government business opportunities.
It’s an interesting balance. On one hand, taxi drivers are ‘battling’ government over deregulation; while on the other hand, government represents sustainable growth for this same industry. I have written a post on how government offers opportunities for growth as a new client, but how about government’s role in creating new, sustainable service offerings? Same client, different service offerings. And the great thing about government is that it’s large and diverse enough to support this.
In talking about creating new services offerings, some key themes I spoke of during these workshops were:
- Look at what makes industry disruptors such as Uber different. How do they differentiate this service and what makes them valuable? We have all heard the story that Uber doesn’t own a single vehicle and has excelled at logistics management.
- Understand government pain points. In this case regional taxi operators are in the box seat. Government has pain points around regional development, population growth in metropolitan Melbourne versus regional Victoria, and, yes, transport.
- Don’t assume anything. Don’t assume government knows what you do, and don’t assume government knows about the business or service offerings you can deliver. From a regional perspective, don’t assume ‘city people’ understand the strong emphasis on customer service delivered by regional based businesses. The level of service experienced in the regions typically outshines the same service in the city.
- Target your contacts. Government will be more likely to engage with you if it’s a targeted contact, where targeted means: strong fit with government strategy or pain point, right government agency and the right person to hear this pitch.
- Do your homework. Make it your business to know everything there is about your targeted contact. Don’t go to a government meeting not knowing the background, policies and needs.
- Build your relationship and pitch your solution using your point of differentiation. If government does take this to market via a tender or quotation you will then be in the box seat to respond because, unconsciously, the requirements will be biased towards your service differentiation.
- Follow up, follow up and follow up. This doesn’t mean hound, this means follow up on a regular basis by adding value.
We can all create new business opportunities, and in this world of constant change and disruption I encourage businesses to consider new service offerings. I absolutely believe we are only limited by our imagination and ability to focus and drive these opportunities as an ongoing work in progress.
In this way government is our partner. They need industry imagination to drive new citizen-centric service delivery; they can’t come up with the ideas on their own.
I also heard today that the NSW government operates an ‘innovation sand pit’ to look at new service offerings that are hindered by current regulation. This kind of real government innovation and openness, coupled with industry inspiration, can lead to the type of citizen-centric service delivery sought by government, and new service channels for traditional operators.