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Andrew Penny, March 3 2020

Best in the World

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Best in the World is a concept we've been working on for about 5 years. We wondered why some companies were extremely successful, expanded steadily and survived competitive approaches while others fizzled out. Many of the fizzlers were well established mid-market companies.

All this is happening in a rapidly globalizing world. We all know this, but the change is complex and each change begets thousands more. It is so much easier for businesses to serve clients around their country and around the world. Payment systems, communications technology, logistics management systems and so on have made ‘going global’ a no brainer.

Most ambitious companies see this as a great opportunity. The problem is that ambitious companies everywhere in the world see it as an opportunity. This means that your business is now competing with just about everyone in the world. You now have to think like an Olympian. You won the state championship, you made it to the national team, you competed in some international events and now - it’s the Olympic games. You are competing with every other athlete in the world. There is only one athlete in each sport who is best in the world – a gold medalist. As with your business you are competing against every other company in the world in your segment. You win or you don’t.

At the start of the modern Olympic games, when it was very much an amateur event, athletes would often compete in multiple sports. Today with the intense competition and need to specialize, that is almost unheard of. The same is true with companies - the specialist thrives.

We have seen many mid-size companies moving into a killing zone where they're moderately good at a wide range of things in their segment but not gold medal quality. There are many high-profile retail examples that illustrate this very well. But there are many more smaller, lower profile companies that suffer the same fate. They are destroyed by competitors who come into their market with a laser focus on small slices of their business and then chew away at their clients and their revenues.

It was in the light of these observations that we realized the best way for mid-market companies, and in fact companies of any size, to thrive in the new world order is to become Best in the World in something. Coming in 4th in the Olympics doesn't earn you a medal nor a sponsorship deal or, in fact, any reward at all other than some awesome memories and cool Instagram posts

Over the next few weeks this blog is going to expand on this concept of Best in the World and provide ideas on how your company can become Best in the world. Being Best in the World is not straightforward and involves making hard choices. You'll need to carefully pick your products your services and your markets. And, you’ll need to instill within your organization a sense of continuous improvement so that you can remain Best in the World.

Thanks for reading,
Andrew Penny

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Written by

Andrew Penny

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