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VULNERABILITY TO VALUE CHAIN: The Elizabeth Holmes Effect

Sometime in 2003, something disruptive happened that would end up shaking up entire the health and medical sector in United States.
It was the birth of an innovative blood testing company called Theranos, founded by a 19-year old lady called Elizabeth Anne Holmes.
In the face of high cost and rigorous blood testing processes in the typical hospitals, Elizabeth Holmes developed a very easy and very cheap way to help people read and test their blood, knocking the hospitals out and pulling their pants down.
Her company is now worth over $9 billion and according to a 2015 Forbes report, she has a networth of over $4.5 billion, making her the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world.
Today I want to talk to you about understanding how value chain works as a way of using that to edge your business as an entrepreneur in the marketplace. There were times in the history of business when everything had to be built from ground up. And if someone has built something before you, you either look for another fish to fry or you assume that the person has a better edge than you.
Market advantage then was defined as 'who came in first or who did it first'.
But all that has changed.
As an entrepreneur, you must understand that today's competitor is not just that man or woman that starts exactly your kind of business four or five blocks away. Your competitor is now also that man that can take an aspect of your value chain and perfect it better than you. A case in point is what we see Hotels.ng, Uber, and Netflix do, shaking up the entire industry simply by edging themselves on a value chain.
Please note this...
Any coordinate of your value chain, if left in the hands of a smart competitor, can knock you out of the market or leave you trying to play catch up. At a very young age of 19, Elizabeth Holmes did only one thing: she perfected a point in the value chain and today, those hospitals in US are so angry while losing their marketshare. I understand that some folks even took her to court and propagated false claims in the media just to rubbish her and bring her company down.
Too late.
Friend, as an entrepreneur, you must learn to keep a good eye on your value chain no matter what type of business you are doing or what wings of glory you are riding on. And that's where the culture of constant innovation and market intelligence come in handy. When I say innovation, I mean both in your content (your what) and in your processes (your how); and a good hold of that is what will keep you in the game.
It is that simple.
But really is it?
Are you building a business that understands and maximises its value chain? Or are you fond of seeing your business from just one angle?
Pause and think.
Note this. It doesn't matter how good you are, if you don't innovate across your value chain using strong market intelligence, just a simple tweak by a competitor or even a toddler can turn the tables around and cause your customers to redirect their customs to somewhere else.
Is that what you want?

Copyright 2016 - Chinonso Ogbogu

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