Great Business Ideas: Valuing instinct

Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Valuing instinct

Personal qualities such as instinct, experience, and intuition can be used to defy market research and create a previously untapped niche in the market.

The idea

Market research is often hailed as the main factor that should drive decision making. However, instinct, personal experience, and intuition are just as vital, especially in difficult times.
This was recognized by Bob Lutz, who, as president of Chrysler during the late 1980s, found sales in America and abroad weakening. Critics claimed the organization was uninspired and lagging behind competitors. Bob Lutz believed the answer was to develop an innovative, exciting car. Stylish, with a powerful ten- cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, the Dodge Viper was given a premium price of $50,000. Many advised that no American-made car would become popular at such a high price, and that the investment would be better spent elsewhere. Lutz’s idea was based on nothing more than personal instinct, without any significant market research. He had to overcome considerable internal opposition, as this approach to decision making was not typical at Chrysler. However, the Dodge Viper proved to be a massive commercial success, even appearing in a number of video games as an elite racing car. It changed the public’s perception of Chrysler, halted the company’s decline, and boosted morale.

Bob Lutz’s belief that the radically different Dodge Viper was the right decision for Chrysler was a triumph of instinct over rationality.

Arguably, though, the decision was entirely rational. When threatened with stagnating sales, a lackluster brand and competitive pressures, what else was there to do except throw the rule book away by innovating and connect with customers by “wowing” them? Bob Lutz may have reached his decision through instinct, but it was his experience that told him which rules to apply.

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In practice

  • Differentiate yourself from competitors by basing decisions on personal experience and instinct rather than typical market research or other rational methods.
  • Do not be afraid to undertake bold decisions when drastic action is required.
  • Talk with people—colleagues, customers, commentators, and people in other industries. Explore their views and ideas.
  • Ensure the idea is executed methodically and efficiently.