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Today’s Winners Create Marketplace Disruption

Adam Hartung Spark Partners BSS CP Expo 2019

(Pictured above: Spark Partners’ Adam Hartung on stage during the Business Success Symposium at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, April 9.)

CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — If you’re not firmly focused on the future and evolving your value proposition, and investing in the future, your company could become the next Sears, Encyclopedia Britannica or GE.

That the message Adam Hartung, Spark Partners’ CEO and managing partner, has for the channel. His keynote opened Tuesday’s Business Success Symposium, sponsored by Rackspace, before the official start of this week’s Channel Partners Conference and Expo.

Hartung’s new book, “Create Marketplace Disruption: How to Stay Ahead of the Competition,” explains how to grow your business by abandoning fear, embracing trends and becoming an agent of change.

The leaders of once highly successful companies that crashed did so because they were trapped inside their value delivery system, and didn’t think about where they were going into the future and what’s the next step, he said.

It’s also why once dominant players like Walmart have since been overwhelmed by Amazon, he said.

“Where’s the world going and how do I position myself out in that world to succeed,” Hartung said.

Businesses tend to optimize their value delivery system, and once they’re successful, they tend to stick with that same system, he said. Doing so makes it possible for competitors to suddenly render them completely obsolete, he said.

“What you want to do is be very capable of adapting [in] real time and understanding your true value proposition,” Hartung said. “You have to see the future, understand the trends, plan for the trends and put your money there. You have got to take those bets; otherwise, you’ll end up like GE.”

It’s better to invest in future-focused projects, rather than defending past solutions, he said. Also, obsessing about fringe competitors and game-changing opportunities can keep your company relevant, he said.

“You would be better off to put your money into growth opportunities you know nothing about then keep putting into a business that’s stagnating, a product that’s so 1990s … because you have to grow, you have no choice but to grow,” Hartung said.

Companies should focus more externally and “less on yourself.” He also said sustaining “always fails; look for white space to grow, he said.

“You have to disrupt, and if you don’t, you won’t make it to the other side,” he said. “Get out there and invest in projects that will get you to the other side.”


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