More than four years ago we met with some experienced business advisors and they suggested that, as we at Lanshore were a start up, we ought to focus on one industry and then expand into other, complementary areas.
At the time, we had two verticals we wanted to work in because our management team and our employees had two nonrelated industry skill sets. Many of us had expertise in Sales Performance Management/Incentive Compensation Management, and that was an area where we saw huge opportunities to engage our near-shore resources out of Costa Rica. Of course, given that we were based in Houston, Texas, a lot of our team also had significant experience in oil and gas and all things energy. Oil and gas in Houston Texas? Go figure.
So there were two verticals we were comfortable in. However, our advisors told us we had to pick one industry and only one, otherwise our clients would be confused and our marketing message would be ineffective. The metaphor used was “Lanshore would be like a restaurant serving Chop Suey and Hamburgers. You wouldn’t go to restaurant that sold Chop Suey and Hamburgers would you?”
The price of oil was obviously much higher at the time, so we contemplated taking the business advisors’ advice and focusing all our efforts on oil and gas. In fact, I remember our advisors saying, “the price of oil is over $100 a barrel, you have an office in Houston, it seems like a no brainer to me. You should go where the money is, don’t try to sell Chop Suey and Hamburgers, focus on selling high end steaks instead……”
Well, guess what? We didn’t follow the advice from those advisors. Instead, we decided to market and sell to both industries. When we were starting out, the oil and gas clients were easier to locate, sell to, and service. However, over time the world started to change. About 18 to 20 months ago, we (like everybody else) saw a shift in the oil and gas markets. The price of oil dropped into the 50s and 60s per barrel range and energy clients started to pull back on IT consulting. Fortunately for us, because we were operating in two very different verticals, we were able to switch focus to the vertical that was still performing well and was not so dependent on commodity pricing.
We still do Energy IT Consulting and Sales Performance Management IT Consulting, as well as a number of other things now, like Lead Generation Consulting and CRM IT Consulting. We haven’t stopped offering services to either vertical. However, we are happy that we did not put all our eggs in one basket, because if we had gone where the big money was a few years ago, we might well have found ourselves now with a very empty basket indeed.
- On March 22, 2016