Seeing fast-growing businesses seemingly appear from nowhere and become international success stories in the time it took you to grow from two to ten people can be distracting and demoralising. How many taxi firms have had to dismantle their growth strategies given the rise of Uber, for example?As either a fledgling or even a fast-growing SME, what happens when big customers with deep pockets come along demanding a service that flies in the face of your business strategy? Should you be tempted to abandon your approach if it means clinching a game-changing deal? Or does that send out a negative and unprofessional message to your other customers, prospects, potential investors and employees? What you have to remember is that different businesses in different industries grow at different rates. If you’ve set out a long-term goal of where you want to be in ten years’ time, then you have to be true to those objectives. That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn and innovate, but your fundamental strategy is something you should have thought long and hard about and in which you should have complete confidence. Let’s use a fictional example to help us visualise this. Blinded by the light Having read Business Administration and Public Entrepreneurship professor Mitchell Weiss discuss the dilemma of a fictional company on whether to change its strategy to suit the needs of a major customer, I thought about how I’d feel in the same position as the UK business leader of a global data management company. The company of Weiss’s creation, Lumiscape, is a smart streetlight manufacturer which has recently moved away from a sales-based model to a service-based model. Renting streetlights to local authorities with a management and maintenance contract provides more control than selling the streetlights and allowing authorities to manage them (badly). However, renting streetlights generates less direct revenue than selling them. In the fictional world of Lumiscape, a huge deal which is the legacy of sales outreach based on the old sales-based model comes back onto the scene and splits the founding partners – some want to sell, others want to follow the current strategy. What should they do?
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If you fancy a unique approach, the strategy Tyra Banks had to become a leading supermodel can be used in business.Image: Shutterstock
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