From mediocre to best
Jim Collins’ Good to Great is a brilliant read about businesses breaking the norms of being categorized as ‘decent’ or ‘good’ businesses, and going forward and reaching the ‘great’ status. Collins used many examples of businesses that used to be on the same equal level, but then all of a sudden one of the two reached a very high market share, or increased their profit by over half in a short amount of time. If I was asked how can that be possible without the company changing their business style radically, my answer would be ‘I have no clue’.
Collins explained very thoroughly what is needed from a business to achieve the ‘great’ status, and first and foremost a business must have a great leader. A great and wise set of brains that can and will do anything for the business to skyrocket its profits. To put this into simpler words, it means that the businesses which have been able to redirect their growth, have done something a bit differently than their competitors; they found their niche and kept with it.
In today’s business world, it’s fairly easy for a company to become ‘mediocre’ with decent profits and market shares in a large business field, but only few can make the leap of becoming even better. One of the key things that Collins mentioned is for the businesses to find their niche and keep with it. May it be, that a business wants to become the cheapest in their field of business, or that they want to have the most cost-per-customer etc. they must keep to their niche. It is referred as ‘the hedgehog concept’. Hedgehogs are known to be slow, simple and a fairly dull creature, and foxes are perceived as clever, fast and cunning creatures who poke their nose everywhere. This concept focuses on the businesses to be more like the hedgehog; keep it simple, having their niche and doing the thing they’re good at. The key thing is to find out what is that your business is good at (your niche), and then sticking to it through thick and thin. Once companies have found their niche and are doing anything to keep sticking to it, they have to find a way to execute it as cleanly as possible.
Collins’ book opened my eyes, and gave me new point of views when studying different companies and fields of businesses. He gave me ideas that I’ve never thought of before reading the book. Through my personal sales career, I’ve found that keeping everything as simple as you can for the customer (and yourself), you increase your chances on making a sale by almost a hundred percent. The only difference here is, that businesses must keep it simple and execute whatever their niche might be as cleanly and well as possible. This will change their position from ‘good’ to ‘great’.