Invention out of necessity

Invention out of necessity

What if you could reinvent your business or your product and grow by 20% this year, would you do it? My guess is probably so.

Today I read an article on Inc. Magazine’s website (twitter inc5000 if you are interested.) about a small chemical company that did just that.

In Max Chafkin’s article, he shared the experience of OMI, a company in Barrington, IL that specialized in industrial strength deodorants. For years, the company made a healthy profit margin of 80% by selling its non-toxic chemicals to engineers and plant managers. Yet Phil Coffey, who would later own the company saw more potential.

Phil had a plan to reinvent the product that had been so successful for industrial use and tap into the consumer products market. He saw a $4.7 billion dollar industry that he could tap in to.

After purchasing the company, Phil took a risk and launched a costly consumer strategy. His risk paid off and now their Fresh Wave product is taking off. In fact, they expect 20% growth in 2009 despite the economy.

The message here is this: opportunity exists everywhere. Unfortunately most of us fail to see it because we are too wrapped up in our own issues to notice. In other cases, even if we do see the opportunity, we may be too afraid to risk it. Phil’s company already had profit margins of 80%. My guess is many would be happy with that and be unwilling to take on a risky venture.

Our country was founded on people taking risks; sticking their necks out. In order for us to grow and thrive, we need leadership that is willing to do the same. We need to make educated decisions and find the opportunities we can take advantage of. It is necessary to our survival.

Take ownership of your situation, find ways to re-invent yourself, make wise decisions, and have a plan.

Now is not the time to complain about the economy, your industry, your employees, management, government, or anything else. If you are willing to let someone else control your destiny, you may not like the results.