One of the things we try to do at 1000 Cranes® is to provide practical resources to customers through our services. I had the pleasure of speaking at the Resource Raleigh Project LIFT Conference at the McKimmon Center on the North Carolina State Campus last Thursday and provided the participants with tools to review their operations.  One of the biggest challenges in business and nonprofits today is knowing when to stop providing services.  As much as we’d like to continue providing as many offerings and services, with limited resources, especially in today’s economy, organizations need to be smarter in making decisions on what they can and cannot do.  In other words, retrench and refocus your efforts so that you are better serving your customers and ultimately better operating as an organization.

You hear so much about acquisitions taking place in the corporate world to expand into markets, but what about tailoring services to better focus your offerings so that you can provide greater value and streamlining and reducing offerings in order to be more effective?

One of my favorite tools to use in Sustainable Strategic Planning is the Boston Consulting Group Matrix or the BCG Matrix.  Yes, it is a tool that has been around for a long time, and it may be a bit too focused as it only looks exclusively at a market view, but the beauty of this model is that it gives an organization permission to stop continuing efforts that do not help promote the organization.

Most people are familiar with the “Cash Cow” where you have High Market Share and Steady Low Growth.  These are the programs that continue to provide sustainable income for the organization.  “Stars” provide income as well through High Market Share and High Market Growth.  Often these are the new emerging programs and services that are experiencing rapid growth and providing stellar performance.  Programs falling into these two quandrants should continue to be monitored to ensure they are providing continued sustainability for the organization.

The next two quadrants provide an opportunity for organizations to rethink about their services.  The “Question Mark” quadrant of Low Market Share and High Market Growth is the most unstable of the quandrants.  It is imperative to either grow market share to turn it into a Star or inevitably the high market growth will dwindle and the program or service will become a “Dog.”

If a project or program has Low Market Share and Low Market Growth or a “Dog”, it needs to be carefully considered.  The organization needs to decide whether it wants to subsidize and continue to support this  program knowing it is a drain on resources for low market share and low market growth, or is it best to find another home for the dog?   This model gives organizations permission to stop continuing programs that do not provide continued sustainable benefit to the organization and look for ways to partner with other organizations who may be able to better serve customers who are currently in dog programs.

Have you considered mapping out your programs into a model such as this one?

Why is your organization continuing to support programs that do not help it to become sustainable?

What would you consider doing with a program that you identify as a “dog”?