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Tunnel Vision or Funnel Vision: Open Your Eyes And See What’s Around You

How open are you to new ideas?

Do you use your experiences to identify new ways you can improve your business?

To use Jay Abraham’s terms, do you have tunnel vision or funnel vision?

The Three Types Of Business Owners & Managers

In my experience there are three types of business managers (in large or small businesses):

  • Those managers and businesses who focus inward on their own business and carry on expecting business to be the same tomorrow as it is today and was yesterday.
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    They have probably embraced some level of continuous improvement but initiatives are based on making what they do even better.
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  • Those managers and businesses who keep an extremely close eye on what competitors do. When competitors make changes, then these managers react accordingly.
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    While it is important to keep an eye on competitors, imitating everything they do just leads to customers seeing the product or service more and more as a commodity where the key factor is price.
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    I have always thought that selling a “me too” product is an extremely hard way to earn a living.
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  • Those managers and businesses who focus on the customers’ underlying needs and wants and scan the wider world for ideas from other trades and industries that they can borrow and adapt from:
    1. Their own buying experiences for other products and services.
    2. Reading business improvement books and the biographies of successful entrepreneurs
    3. Talking to an independent business advisor – their experience of other businesses and their fresh eyes are two big advantages.

From a business strategy perspective, it is not uncommon to see type1 and type 2 businesses stuck in a competitive stalemate – following the traditional industry recipe for success and unable to make sustainable differentiation.

Tunnel Vision & Funnel Vision

This is what Jay Abraham refers to as Tunnel Vision – only seeing what is happening in your own industry, trade or profession.

The irony is that it’s quite natural. If you work in an industry all your life it is very easy to become trapped in your thinking. What happens inside the industry is normal, what others do is abnormal. It can be inconsistent with your mental models for how your part of the world works.

It is a particular danger for smaller businesses. The owner has often made a life commitment to the business and even when there is the opportunity to recruit a new mover and shaker (manager, sales person) the tendency is to recruit from the same industry.

The reasons make sense – there is no money to waste so it is seen that there isn’t the time to train someone new.

Does this sound like you?

What if someone could open your eyes to all the possibilities that exist in the world for see ideas from other businesses that can be borrowed and adapted?

This is the process that Jay Abraham calls Funnel Vision.

If you decide to use Funnel Vision then you look around for the ways that other people deal with problems.

For example, suppose that you decide on a marketing strategy and you would like more referrals but you are not too sure about how to go about it.

Start looking at how other people try to persuade you to refer them. Which methods work? Which do you like and think you could adapt for your business.

Suppose your printer sends you a letter asking for referrals and encloses a £20 off coupons for you to pass on? Will it make you think of any new small businesses who need some printing work done.

What if the printer sweetens the deal and says that for every voucher cashed, you’ll get a discount of the same value off your next purchases.

Challenge yourself.

How can you take an idea like that and adapt it?

Take a hard look at your customers and what they want. Do they have frustrations that need to be solved?

Then look at businesses that must have the same problem (eg queueing) and see how they a) solve the problem b) improve the experience if the problem can’t be solved and c) can provide extra revenue opportunities that are of benefit to customers.

There’s a lot to learn from the outside world if you are prepared to let it be your teacher. Jay Abraham believes that the pre-emptive impact you can have from importing ideas can have the equivalent effect of an atom bomb on your competitors. You can gain such a big advantage, both in your products and services and in your business reputation as an innovator.

Are you ready to start learning from others?

Or do you already practice Funnel Vision and you’ve experienced the benefits. I’d love to read your stories of success.

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