Water, Water Everywhere but not a drop to drink

Water? Yeah it comes out of my sink. I use it to shower. It makes my coffee in the morning. That’s about it…I think.

One of the biggest challenges faced by many water professionals is the lack of public appreciation for the value of water. Most people have no idea about the amount of work (and business opportunity) that goes into treating water, moving water, storing water and distributing water. In this lack of appreciation for the water field, I will expose two key points from my experiences in the water field.

In developing the new division for Darley, there are challenges we face internally and externally.

Internally. Trying to change the old school mindset that Darley is more than a fire company. These new markets have different mind sets, different demands, different regulations. With all these “different” factors, we needed a top to bottom reformatted approach to how we think about the market. How should we phrase our marketing? How should we present information? How much is too much information? What does the market want? Who is the actual customer? How can I reach these new customers?  How should I be spending my time on a daily basis?

Darley experienced many failed product launches and marketing efforts because we did not adapt our thinking to the new marketing opportunity. Therefor as a team, our marketing and web department came together to sit back and think “What is our water identity and how can we best portray this to the market?” By bringing together our internal resources, this has allowed Darley to define our position to the marketplace and work as a team to grow sales to the industry. Darley is working better as a team to support the new market endeavors and this has allowed me to focus more on water partnership and business development.

Lessons learned: Tap into internal existing resources. Allow yourself to utilize your time most effectively. Cut the cord on a bad marketing effort before you sink too much time into it.

Externally: The water market is ruthlessly competitive; and it’s only starting to heatup. Based on market studies, the Water industry is expected to grow into $375 Billion dollar industry next year. Because of the growing nature of importance for water in every industry sector, many new companies are emerging and more companies are adapting into the water world. Due to this growing shift to water, this highlights the importance of two things: 1) find a niche 2) make sure our products are doing what we say they will do.

1) In finding a niche (such as military, disaster response and humanitarian) we can focus our resource on small segments of the water sector as opposed to casting too wide of a net.

2) In dealing with the water sector, we are entering a world where the end user is going to consume the end product. This requires a high level of oversight to ensure that the product is producing clean water and meeting industry standards. We may have been to relaxed when first encountering this water quality issue, but fortunately nothing bad happened.  We have since implemented many more quality control issues. The last thing we want is an unhappy (potentially dead) customer.

Lessons Learned: Be different. Fight for the niche market. Don’t take anything you say to the public lightly in regards to capabilities because it could come back to haunt you.

This article highlights the challenges of the industry and what companies should do to focus on building market opportunities. http://www.wateronline.com/doc/the-biggest-challenges-facing-the-water-industry-0001.

FINAL Food for thought:  Have you ever thought about how water affects your industry?  Is water important to your company (your personal life)? What if your company had a supply chain shock of no access to water?  How important is water to your business?

Daily Steps for The World Water Crisis

Have you ever looked at a potential problem and thought “There is no chance on earth that i can solve this. There is too much to do and not enough time.”  In my three years with my company Darley, there have been a few moments where i felt overwhelmed about the amount of work i needed to do.  However over time I realized that big challenges in my job are a ‘set of daily tasks’ that need to be done.

In my job at Darley, I have worked as Business Development Manager to develop two new divisions of the company; Darley Water Purification Systems and Darley Custom Pump Solutions.  Both divisions started within the past five years and we are attempting to do one of the hardest things in business : Sell New Products to New Customers.

Due to the undefined role of Business Development for these emerging divisions, I began to learn as much as possible about the different market segments.  In particular, the WATER MARKET.  Currently there is no market more attractive in the world than technologies surrounding water treatment, storage, distribution, monitoring, etc.. With all the potential for growth in in the industry, I still found myself thinking: Where do i start?  Who can i sell products to?  Where are the customers?  The questions don’t stop.

In my three years, trying to direct the company towards the water market has not been an easy task.  Darley is a committed fire company with a many tendencies of an old school company.  Darley likes to innovate, but at the speed of Darley.

As i sat at my desk in the early days, many times i would get stuck because i didn’t know what to do.  This wasn’t because there was a shortage of work, but because there were so many things that needed to happen in order for Darley to grow in these water sectors.  Where do I start when trying to do something to solve the world’s water crisis?

This is when the light bulbs started going off.

If I do a better job of personally managing my time in the office, that is one step closer to help more people in the world get access to clean water.  If I can better plan out my tasks out in the morning, I can complete tangible action items that need to get done.  With my tasks better defined on a daily basis, I can better utilize the internal resources I have at Darley to get more things done.  If i get more tasks done a daily basis on a personal and group level, we are moving one day closer to helping more people with access to clean water.

I now look at my job as a daily adventure.  Of course I need to plan for future trade shows and what are we doing in 3-6-9 months.  However all we can do is best manage our time on a daily basis to be as productive as possible.  I want to change the world.  I want to help people get access to clean water.  I know this will not happen overnight, but my actions needs to improve and get more efficient every day.   Now before I go to bed I always ask myself “Did I do anything today that moved me closer to my goal of helping people around the world?”  If i answer “no”, I think about what went wrong, acknowledge the inefficiencies, and move on to the next day.  

Water, water everywhere…but not a drop to drink.

If you have time, watch VICE.  VICE is the best documentary series in television right now.  Season three has a special about the water crisis in India. For me to truly get behind a solution, I need to experience the problem first hand.  I spend one week in India and watched this documentary.  Here is a sneak peak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcLFXixHyW0