Time to Reinvent Yourself?

April 11, 2017

When thinking of innovation, many immediately think of start-ups and technology firms, and how they can transform an industry. The great advances coming from the technology sector are deserving of the interest, but only focusing on this innovation is misplaced.

A perfect example of this has been the resurrection of Domino’s Pizza. When Patrick Doyle was named CEO in 2010 of the 56-year-old company, its stock was mired below $10 per share. In just six years, Domino’s became the second-largest pizza chain in the world with a stock price approaching $160. What happened? According to a recent Harvard Business Review article on the once-torpid pizza joint, Doyle embraced innovation. How he did it is a great lesson, however.

As Doyle and his team tell it, the key to this growth was to first have a clear purpose and mission. Second was reinvigorating the brand. At its core, Domino’s is in the pizza-delivery business. Focusing on this fact led the company to two conclusions. First, they focused on how to make the process for ordering and tracking the delivery of a pizza easier. Second, they improved their product, focusing on what customers actually wanted. It would be interesting to apply this thinking to our industry.

During your next staff meeting, ask your team this question, “What business are we in?” Have them write their answers down on sticky notes and place them on a whiteboard or wall. The wide variety of answers might surprise you. Next, ask your team a variation of the same question: “What does our customer expect from us?” The alternate wording will change the focus from how you see your business to how your customers see it. I guarantee it will lead to different answers. When all is said and done, you’ll probably find that both you and your customers should agree on your business goals. They’ll probably include:

  • Protecting property rights
  • Title searching and examination
  • Peace of mind
  • Safe and efficient transfer of real estate

If your company needs to reinvent itself, try focusing on things you control instead of items that require coordination with your partners. The goal is to identify little changes to your process that can simplify your work while improving your customers’ experience. Focusing on little details—like improving the quality of pizza sauce—can lead to exponential growth and change in consumer perception over time.

Daniel D. Mennenoh ITP, NTP is president of ALTA.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.