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jerryking : dollar_shave_club   4

Business leaders are blinded by industry boundaries
April 22, 2019 | Financial Times | Rita McGrath.

Why is it so hard for executives to anticipate the major shifts that can determine the destiny of their organisations? Andy Grove called these moments “strategic inflection points”. For some, he wrote, “That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

Industry leaders would do well to focus on productive opportunities, even when they lie outside a fairly well-bounded industry. Want to survive a strategic inflection point? Stop focusing on traditional metrics and find new customer needs that your organisation can uniquely address.

Why do business leaders so often miss these shifts? Successful companies such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Nokia did not heed the early signs of a move to app-based smartphones. Video rental chain Blockbuster failed to acquire Netflix when it had the chance, in 2000.

Senior people rise to the top by mastering management of the KPIs in that sector. This, in turn, shapes how they look at the world. The problem is a strategic inflection point can occur and render the reference points they have developed obsolete. Take traditional retail. Its key metrics have to do with limited real estate, such as sales per square metre. Introduce the internet and those measures are useless. And yet traditional systems, rewards and measures are all built around them.....British economist Edith Penrose grasped this crucial link, she asked, “What is an industry?” In her studies, executives did not confine themselves to single industries, they expanded into any market where their business might find profitable growth.

Consider the energy sector: Historically, most power generators and utilities were heavily regulated...The sector’s suppliers likewise expected steady demand and a quiet life....that business has been rocked by slow-moving shifts many players talked about, but did not act upon. The rise of distributed energy generation, the maturing of renewable technology, increased conservation and new rules have eroded the traditional model. Many failed to heed the warnings. In 2015, General Electric spent about $10bn to acquire Alstom’s power business. Finance chief Jeff Bornstein crowed at the time that it could be GE’s best acquisition ever. Blinded by traditional metrics, GE doubled down on fossil-fuel-fired turbines just as renewables were becoming cost competitive.

Consider razor blades: Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand of razors had long enjoyed a competitive advantage. For decades, the company had invested in developing premium products, charged premium prices, invested heavily in marketing and used its clout to get those razors into every traditional retail outlet. A new breed of online rivals such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have upended that model, reselling outsourced razors that were “good enough” and cheaper, online via a subscription model that attracted younger, economically pressured customers...... Rather than fork out for elaborate marketing, the upstarts enlisted YouTube and Facebook influencers to get the word out.
Andy_Grove  BlackBerry  blindsided  Blockbuster  brands  cost-consciousness  customer_insights  Dollar_Shave_Club  executive_management  GE  Gillette  good_enough  Harry's  industries  industry_boundaries  inflection_points  Intel  irrelevance  KPIs  metrics  millennials  movingonup  myopic  obsolescence  out-of-the-box  P&G  power_generation  retailers  reward_systems  sales_per_square_foot  shifting_tastes  slowly_moving  warning_signs 
april 2019 by jerryking
The joy of boring business ideas
April 11, 2018 | Financial Times | by JONATHAN MARGOLIS
Slippers, razors and even gas boilers offer ripe pickings for profit and disruption.

Simon Phelan and his online gas boiler installation company, Hometree, are “aiming to replicate the success of online estate agent Purplebricks in an equally large, albeit more boring market: boiler installations.”......Start-ups doing anything new, cute or plain off-the-wall often struggle. .....Boring may be the new interesting.......Mahabis, a carpet slippers start-up, has sold close to a million pairs of its £79 product....another boring domestic product, razors, have proved to be a lucrative market for what are essentially tech companies, such as Dollar Shave Club (bought by Unilever for $1bn) and Harry’s.....It is not just products: dull-sounding online services also seem to pay off. London start-up ClearScore, a millennial-focused fintech company which offers users free credit scoring and personal finance guides, sold to Experian last month for £275m, after just three years in business......Phelan is pursuing gas boilers, not because he was interested in them, but because he was looking for a way into the growing smart-home sector. He wants to build a slick way to modernise boiler installation, so that by the time newer, more eco-friendly home heating technologies become standard he will already have a loyal customer base. This is why Hometree has more in common with tech companies than with local plumbers.

“Where I think people go wrong in entrepreneurship is building a product, rather than a business for the future,” says Mr Phelan....Making a neglected category simple and elegant is attractive.”

“All you have to do,” he concluded, “is not to see it as a gas boiler business, but a much bigger play......Phelan’s idea that new businesses need to be strategic rather than excitable about this or that gimmicky new product is one that other entrepreneurs would do well to follow.
disruption  unglamorous  smart_homes  eco-friendly  reinvention  home_based  new_businesses  new_products  millennials  fin-tech  credit_scoring  personal_finance  boring  buying_a_business  Dollar_Shave_Club  Harry’s 
april 2018 by jerryking
A Day in the Life of Silicon Valley Power Player Kirsten Green
Oct. 3, 2017 | WSJ | By Francesca Mari.

HE DRIVER’S SEAT Kirsten Green, founder and general partner at early-stage venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures, Although Green formalized her venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures with its first institutional fund only five years ago, she has already built one of the most recognizable portfolios in the tech world. And with the sale of two of her early investments last year—Jet.com to Walmart for $3.3 billion and Dollar Shave Club to Unilever for $1 billion—she’s become one of the most prominent players in venture capital, an industry dominated by men......In 2008, she invested in a company started by two Stanford business grad students: Bonobos. She liked the founders, and they agreed to share their insights with her. “I couldn’t lose other people’s money, but I could invest in my own learning,” .......
Silicon_Valley  women  vc  retailers  Kirsten_Green  Warby_Parker  Bonobos  Dollar_Shave_Club  Unilever 
october 2017 by jerryking

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