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A review of “Good to Great” by Jim Collins

by on Sunday, April 19th, 2009, under Books, Business, Reviews

Good to Great

Good to Great

The book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” is all about identifying the things that differentiate good companies and great companies.  This may sound a bit obvious in the title, but there is something very different about this book in comparison to many of the other books I have read.  The “identifying” part indicates that these differences are based on studies, data, and real world evidence, not the authors “opinions” on what makes a great company.  These studies consist of many good companies, great companies, and even extinct companies, and they take a deep look into what internal changes occur as a good company transitions to a great company.

I love the way this book looks historically at the actual data to determine which criteria will identify a great company, what makes that company meet said criteria, and then includes the relevant data with every technique and characteristic that the great companies employ to show how these things promote greatness.  This book seems to hold very little bias (if any) to the authors preconceived notions of greatness, and focuses on the brutal facts.  I am confidant that the research team has identified consistent and accurate differences between the great companies and everyone else, and then manages to explain why these concepts help great companies while, in their absence, they hinder good companies.

As an aspiring entrepreneur, this book has really helped me to define my business ideas and to identify how I can best pursue them.  I have enjoyed the stories about great companies in their infancy since I can relate to them the most, and I was very happy to hear that my venture plans thus far are quite similar to how Hewlett-Packard got started (declaring at a high level what the company would do, and later trying out a number of products in very unrelated markets before deciding on which markets and products to target.)

Summary

This is one book that I have already started rereading as I feel there is a lot of valuable information here that warrants a second absorbtion.  So needless to say, I would recommend Good to Great to anyone who is either running a businesses currently, or who intends to run one in the future.  The book has changed my thought process in how to handle business, and I am confident that it can help your business too.  Even if your company has already transitioned to greatness, the insight into other great companies holds plenty of value, and more likely than not, it will reveal some new ideas.

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Sunday, April 19th, 2009 Books, Business, Reviews No Comments
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Building your business in a down economy

by on Wednesday, March 4th, 2009, under Business

I have always believed that every event carries a proportional business opportunity.  We are currently experiencing a very obvious recession, so how does a company capitalize during these difficult times (when businesses are the ones hurting the most)?

Focus on quality

If you look back at how we got into this recession in the first place, you will remember one of the key contributors to the recession was the collapse of the housing industry.  This was caused by low quality loans being repackaged and sold on Wall Street.  When the bottom fell out, everyone felt the effects.  Now, everyone is pulling their funding back and being very careful about how they spend.  Many companies are losing business due to this, but the companies with the highest quality in products and services are much more likely to keep a hold on the business that is available.

There is a silver lining to be found for companies who are receiving less business than normal.  This “availability” provides an opportunity for companies to start working on creating new products and services, improving existing products and services, and it will help pinpoint the offerings that are not performing very well.  This is an opportunity to re-evaluate your core services and trim out the inefficient ones.  If you focus on improving the quality of the products and services that remain successful even in a recession, you can be sure that these offerings will help your business thrive during a recession, as well as post-recession.

During a recession, businesses should negotiate everything.  The pricing for products and services your company buys are more likely to be negotiable since the livelihood of your vendors may depend on this sale.  The buck goes both ways though.  Your business should be willing to negotiate with clients as well to help them when they are feeling the pain of a recession.  Your clients will remember how you bent over backwards for them even in the toughest of times and this will help build loyalty, and loyalty can lead to references.  This is a great time to evaluate new offerings (services or products) because the initial costs can be negotiated for labor and materials.  If you can get your offering to the market during the economy’s recovery, then you have effectively set yourself up for a “buy low, sell high” scenario.

Building client relationships

Keep your customers in your sights and let them know what your company is doing. Keeping your clients (employees and investors too) informed will maintain their confidence in your business.  Let them know you are willing to negotiate and work with them.  This may get a conversation going that results in both parties benefiting.

This demonstration of flexibility (especially if combined with improved quality) will not only help your clients see the value your company can offer, but it may also be the defining factor of who survives and who fails, if and when things get really ugly…

Good luck!  😉

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Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 Business No Comments