It has been said many times that the best defence is a good offence, and interestingly enough I think that this may well answer a comment to my last post.
So how does a company that sits in the small (guerrillas) section move from there to the ultimate goal of being 'big' without passing through the medium size? …
Firstly, I think that it is important that the market that you are small or ugly in, is not fully matured. If it is you need to create or enter a new market. Secondly you must continue to grow, and by grow I mean primarily organic and then acquired. The most effective way and decisive way to grow big is to seize, maintain and exploit the initiative in a market that is either not fully matured or is a speciality.
A current example in the NZ news at the moment is Pumpkin Patch's result. They started as a small business and have grown to be a big business by NZ standards. They now have branches in Aust, UK and have launched into the US. Their strategy is to continually grow and add stores (similar in principal it seems to Michael Hill). They are continually on the offensive pausing only when entering new countries to get the delivery and marketing right. Once they nail that they rapidly grow again.
So to answer specific questions drawn from the comment …
- Medium sized – You need to pass through ugly to get to big, but I think you can actually get to big in one market and then realise you are small in another and expand again.
- Too long – Too long is measured by growth. If you don’t have growth into new markets and products and regions you will become irrelevant. This, in my opinion needs to happen at least every 6 months, if not 3 months.
- Risk – yip. Once you get to a crtical mass that Big brings the risk reduces significantly
- Acquisition – I think organic when small primarily with the aid of acquired.
By being on the offensive causes the competitors to react, by being defensive it causes you to stop growing. If that happens you are destined to be ugly (the never never land) or a guerrilla.
Some interesting lessons in this line of thinking for me and my role over the last couple of days.