Addressing things in the long term

Profits and pressures often lead to only thinking about the near term. The focus is on getting sales up for a certain product this quarter. Or by year end.

What about the next year?

What about the next decade?

My employer offers a service (I won’t share specifics), and the sales for that service were starting to dwindle year over year for the last few years. There would be calls for ideas to get the sales up to hit quota. Ideas like dedicating a certain amount of time to selling it, dedicating a full-time sales rep to it, or adjusting the price. All of these aren’t great solutions because they are a zero sum game. Dedicating more time selling this, means less time selling that. Lowering the price, means selling more volume. More volume isn’t in the stars due to the structural nature of the market. People only need this service once, then never again. More of the market has been tapped every year.

So what should be done?

A long hard look at the service itself. It’s obvious it needs a revamp if it’s going to stay viable. The problem is no one wants to address is that it’s going to take a year or two of 1-3 people working full-time to revamp the offering. That’s a lot of costs. Costs that certainly aren’t recoverable if thinking in months.

Thinking in decades though, the previous service had remained largely unchanged for two decades, revamping would likely to make it viable for another decade.

Sometimes thinking about next year is long term thinking, especially in fast-changing industries, however, sometimes looking a decade out will reveal other options.