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Moving Your Business From “Good To Great”

My favorite business strategy book is by the author Jim Collins and its title is Good To Great.  I read it first, maybe 8 years ago, and I still keep it handy today, as I refresh my memory of key points.  There have been many, many strategy books written, but this book rings true for me in my career experiences and is written in a very, easy to follow manner, with great examples.  It all makes sense.  I highly recommend this book to help you move your business from “Good to Great”.

In previous blogs, I spoke to the importance of strong strategic planning.  First identifying where your company can be the best, meaning defining products and markets.  In Good To Great, Collins speaks to what he calls a “Hedgehog Concept”.  It is where the circles of these three areas overlap:

  1. What is your company’s passion?
  2. What can your company be the best at?
  3. Where can you make money?

Once you have identified this, it is all about focus, focus, focus. JUST SAY NO to all those tangents and creative ideas that take you away from what you are the best in your market.  Keep building on your passion and strengths.  Keep investing in people or technology that makes your strengths more powerful to your customers.  Expanding into other markets is fine, but assure your competitive advantages will be valued and needed by those new customers.

There won’t be one technology advancement, new product or any major event.  It will be an accumulation of you and your team’s consistent actions over the years staying true to who you are and the result will be that moment when the sales rate starts to grow exponentially and you realize you are on your way to a GREAT company.

Collins speaks of this exponential growth as “breakthrough”.  He describes moving a company forward staying consistent to your “hedgehog concept,” like trying to push a large heavy metal flywheel.  You put your shoulder to the flywheel and you begin to push.  Initially it will move, but very slowly, but if you keep all your employees pushing in the same direction working together, it will pick up speed.  Eventually its own momentum kicks in and it takes off to “breakthrough”.  This is when you know you have moved your company from “Good to Great”.

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