Asparagus and Super Mario: meeting challenges in the most unexpected ways

Asparagus and Super Mario

How does a video-gaming company become successful before video games even exist? They start by making playing cards.

Nintendo was founded in 1889 as a playing card company. But when the electronics industry looked to change the game completely, they jumped at the opportunity. Nintendo introduced one of the first ever games consoles – and Mario has never looked back.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your business profitable, change doesn’t have to be as radical as Nintendo. It is worth remembering, though, that you don’t need all the answers straight away.

When it comes to energy efficiency, you need to prepare for the unknown if you want more from your energy partner. Opportunities can come from the most unexpected places. Just ask Samsung – they used to sell noodles.

The answer is in the detail

But how can you think about long-term prospects when you’re still worrying about the day-to-day?

Technology can look after your short-term challenges and give you the security you need to focus on the bigger picture. That’s why Jan Kurrelvink, Director of Solution Design & Business Development at E.ON Energy Projects, says “the customer can’t do anything wrong anymore.”

Automated technology, like that of E.ON’s IQ CHP, means customers can maximise their cost savings without threatening their day-to-day operations.

So that’s the routine running of your business taken care of. Now what comes next? When businesses already have full visibility of their energy use, it can be difficult to know where else to look for those opportunities to save.

First, you need to explore every avenue within your business, and that starts with asking the right people. The answer to your profitability challenges could come from anyone, from the IT team or production team, to your energy team.

“There’s a lot of potential, but it comes with a lot of communication”, Kurrelvink explains. “You need to think ‘what can be done’, and it’s up to us to be able to show you.”

Look no further

Once you’ve identified the potential to improve the cost savings of your business on a day-to-day level, that’s when you can look for additional value pools. These opportunities can exist outside your business – and might be closer than you think.

For one of Kurrelvink’s customers, the solution was quite literally on their doorstep. A farmer next door asked to use the excess steam from one business’ on-site generation. It meant the farmer could grow his asparagus six weeks before his competitors and the additional stream of revenue was a major boost to the business.

 “No-one can be certain that in 5 years’ time certain opportunities will materialise”, Kurrelvink explains. But to remain open to value-adding opportunities you need to invest in long-term flexibility. A long-term partnership is how you maintain “an openness to really incorporate as much flexibility into our solution as possible.” That’s when you find the potential to create something better.

Moving from playing cards to video-games may seem like a natural step in hindsight – but it was only possible for Nintendo because they stayed flexible.

That’s why the real opportunities for maximum profitability begin with a brave investment in the future. You need to believe that your business can create future value, and that may well involve a jump into the unknown. Just make sure you collect enough coins along the way.