Congratulations, you have taken an idea and developed it into reality! You have some sales to your credit, a decent following, and a clearer idea of what business you are growing. At the same time you are starting to better appreciate your competition’s strengths and feeling the fullness of their advantages. What is your growth strategy?
“If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy.” -Alvin Toffler
The Principle of Force
Maybe your organization is lucky enough to have the bulk of market share in your space? If so, this is a GREAT thing! Focus your strategy on defense of your base while you grow. Odds are better that you are a market challenger, market follower, or a niche market. You might wonder how it is even possible to compete with bigger firms and their resources. The Principle of Force concludes all things equal the firm with the most resources will win. But all things aren’t equal, if you develop a superior strategy!
Whether you are a market challenger, market follower, or a niche market your strategy has to be a proactive one. This is important to remember, you will have to choose your battles wisely, but you will have to choose battles. If you are not proactively developing and executing on a strategies to get you to your vision, chances are almost nil you will serendipitously fall into a ‘superior strategy’ that levels the field of unequal resources.
Market challengers: enjoy a sizable market share. You probably have enough resources to mount a sizable attack. Think Avis and their ‘We try harder’ attack. Avis didn’t pretend they were #1, but rather made it very clear how they intended to become #1. A market challenger’s offensive strategy can be through: pricing (low or premium); placement strategies (bundling with other products, contracting exclusive distribution); product differentiation; in addition to promotion through advertising and public relations.
Market followers/Niche Markets: don’t have the resources for a direct attack on either the market leader or challenger, but rather should carve out a portion of the market in which they can set themselves apart. Look for customer segments not currently being served by the leader and challenger. Look for tactical advantages you have, something you can execute on better than the competitor/s and throw your resources in doing just that. Look for ways you can create a new market like Cirque de Solei did. Look for a space you can win by being faster or more innovative. It doesn’t happen though without superior and committed strategy, along with willingness to quickly adapt best business practices in your organization.
Strategy books that I love:
- Plan B, David K. Murray
- The Strategist, Cynthia Montgomery
- Business Model Generation, Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
- Competitive Strategy, Michael Porter
- Built to Last, Jim Collins
Shawna Beese-Bjurstrom, RN, MBA lives in Spokane, WA with her family where she is a Healthcare Executive and Business Developer. She writes on issues such as strategy, operational excellence, communication, and leadership, read her blog.