Let me introduce this next set of articles by providing a little background.
As many of you may have noticed, I have been working with several groups and organizations around the world attempting to help their membership become more successful, grow their businesses, and expand into new markets. As my daughter might say, “Yay, me.” In all honesty though, self-aggrandizement is not the purpose of these articles.
The purpose of these writings is that I have some ideas to share and I really want to spend a bit of time documenting what I think are the essential under-pinnings of, for lack of a better phrase, “business success in a global market”. In all honesty, I really don’t know where this series of blog postings will end up. However, my objective is to help my clients, our site visitors, and “general curiosity seekers” gain a little insight into what can make your business more successful; and perhaps just as importantly, what things you might consider avoiding.
I guess one of the primary questions I get from my friends in the former Eastern Bloc countries of Europe and in the Arab-world is what makes American business succeed? How can we learn from you? What do you do that we don’t…
First let me state, not all businesses in the US succeed. The business failure rate in the US is actually high, not low. To understand a bit more about this, let’s look at the US Startup Business Failure Rate By Industry. What you will note, if you look at their data, is that the failure rate of US based business is actually ‘not low’; or if you prefer, it is actually ‘quite high’. If you have not already done so, I “do” recommend you review and study the report published on StatisticBrain. I think you will find their data and analysis revealing.
Should you wish to review freely available data regarding the rest of the planet, Dun & Bradstreet Country Risk [Reports] makes a number of reports and analysis freely available (the previous link is my Google query that returns select reports). What you will notice is that by D&B’s definition, “insolvency” levels fluctuate; they are not stable. These levels can and do shift significantly based upon global, regional, or local conditions.
The primary conclusion I come to when I analyze the above data sources is that first world economies have business failure rates that seem roughly similar to each other ‘over-time’. The same applies for developing or emerging economies, etc. So then, what are we to gain from that particular insight?
The way I interpret these ‘facts’ is that businesses wanting to run with the ‘big dogs’, need to play like/with the ‘big dogs’. In other words if you want your business to succeed like a US or German company, you need to behave like one. To take this analysis one step further. If you are a business in, for example, the Euro-zone and are in an emerging economy, like my friends in Poland, you need to act like one of the big players. You can not run using out dated Eastern Bloc Business acumen. If you don’t run and manage your business using similar or superior metrics/ measures to your successful Euro-zone “compatriots”, you will never catch up. Remember if they are already ahead of you and you are trying to catch them, you need to do everything they do, “only better”.
And so, this brings us to the beginning. What does it take to be “better”? How do you win? Or put more competitively, “how do you beat them at their own game”?
To end this first article in my series, I will leave you with some homework. Here are some thoughts to ponder. If you want to be better than they are, what does it mean? Should you
- Build better products?
- Be faster to market?
- Reduce your costs?
- Improve your profits?
What do you think it might mean? Once you decide on its meaning, then how do you get your business(es) there?
In subsequent articles, we will discuss some of the approaches you might engage in order “to up your chances of success”. We will also discuss “mis-steps” you ought to avoid.