Strategy Canvas

Dave Pollard writes an interesting article about something he calls a strategy canvas.

Twenty years ago, StandPat faced a crisis, one that had plagued it for most of the three generations since it had been founded. The commercial printing business was cutthroat. There were too many players, and now many new immigrants had come into the country and were using newer, cheaper technology to provide a product almost as good as StandPat’s for much less. The company had not significantly changed in size or nature in decades, and they were under enormous pressure to lower prices again.

The company president decided this was a recipe for running the company into the ground, and that something drastic needed to be done. He did an analysis of StandPat’s and competitors’ offerings that would have looked something like the Strategy Canvas shown above. Not surprisingly, he discovered that StandPat’s offerings were misaligned with what the market wanted — fast and cheap. There were some repeat, blue-chip customers that demanded quality, customization and reliable, knowledgeable service, but even they were frequently tempted away by much lower prices of discounters. Worse, many large organizations were doing more and more of their work in-house (small printing presses were a disruptive innovation to established commercial printers), so even the blue-chip customers were giving StandPat only their most demanding jobs. And three well-established printers with strategy profiles just like StandPat’s were fighting furiously over this declining volume of premium work.

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