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The Next Big Thing – Business Vision

I talk about Business Vision often. Sometimes people think I am just seeing things that aren’t there, and shake their head. Unfortunately for them, I have learned that learning to look at your business objectively, and with a fresh eye, allows you to discover unique opportunities that you have been missing. Looking at other peoples’ businesses with the same open view allows you to ask the proverbial question, “What if?” Invariably, this question always leads to new possibilities, including working on someone else’s business for a fee or JV.

Business Vision came up today when I read a newspaper report about Michael Eisner buying Topps Co., the 60-year-old trading card company. Clearly, for years, this long-term successful company had continued to operate the way it had always operated and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Now, Eisner walks in and looks at the company differently than the millions of other people who have seen it. Yes, he sees a trading card company, but what he also sees is a media company. In his view, the trading and sports card company had a different kind of business just waiting to be released from its confines. Using the new view, instead of just “Bazooka Joe” trading cards, how about a “Bazooka Joe” movie, followed by a “Bazooka Joe” web site, book, t-shirts and likely an entire amusement park or at least part of one (ala the Harry Potter Attraction going in at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida). [Note: These are my expansions of ideas based on his comments.] Note also that “Bazooka Joe” is only one of the hundreds of real and imaginary characters in the Topps Co. stable that give them a virtual library of talent and personalities from which to draw.

As always, let me now suggest that you bring this concept home and take a moment to step back and look at your own business, or even the business of someone else you like, and see what they aren’t doing that your vision of another profit center could add.

One more quick point from the Eisner announcement: his method of moving Topps into the position of a media company is web-based from the beginning. He envisions web movies, as well as many types of mobile entertainment. He sees new platforms to be generated, and is preparing to stake a beachhead now for the future in the long-term. To me this is more than Web 2.0, this is the next transformation from being tethered anywhere for sports, news or entertainment; and keeping this in mind in your own business will certainly have profitable overtones for your future.