Jim’s Group : Jim Penman.* 1984: Jim’s Mowing. 2006: Jim’s Group. 2,600 franchisees (Australia, NZ, UK). Cleaning. Dog washing. Handyman. Fencing. Paving. Pool care. Etc. “People first.” Private. Small staff. Franchisees can leave at will. 0-1 complaint per year is norm; cut bad ones quickly. *Ph.D. cross-cultural anthropology; mowing on the side Source: MT/Management Today (Australia), Jan-Feb 2006
Home Depot Business ToolBox: Payroll processing. Credit card processing. Personnel paperwork. Mobile phones. Shipping. Health insurance . 12K customers (plumbers, electricians, small homebuilders and contractors). Source: Forbes , 0918.06
Small Giants/Bo Burlingham "First, I could see that, unlike most entrepreneurs, their founders and leaders had recognized the full range of choices they had about the type of company they would create." "Second, the leaders had overcome the enormous pressures on successful companies to take paths they had not chosen and did not necessarily want to follow." "Third, each company had an extraordinarily intimate relationship with the local city, town, or county in which it did business -- a relationship that went well beyond the usual concept of ‘giving back.'" "Fourth, they cultivated exceptionally intimate relationships with customers and suppliers , based on personal contact, one-on-one interaction, and mutual commitment to delivering on promises."
Small Giants/Bo Burlingham "Fifth, the companies also had what struck me as unusually intimate workplaces ." "Sixth, I was impressed by the variety of corporate structures and modes of governance that these companies had come up with." "Finally, I noticed the passion that the leaders brought to what the company did. They loved the subject matter , whether it be music, safety lighting, food, special effects, constant torque hinges, beer, records storage, construction, dining, or fashion."
EXCELLENCE. NO EXCUSES.
WallopWal*Mart16* *Or: Why it’s so ABSURDLY EASY to BEAT a GIANT Company
The “Small Guys” Guide: Wallop Wal*Mart16 * Niche-aimed. (Never, ever “all things for all people,” a “mini-Wal*Mart.) * Never attack the monsters head on! (Instead steal niche business and lukewarm customers.) * “ Dramaticall y Different ” (La Difference ... within our community, our industry regionally, etc … is as obvious as the end of one’s nose!) (THIS IS WHERE MOST MIDGETS COME UP SHORT.) * Compete on value/experience/intimacy, not price. (You ain’t gonna beat the behemoths on cost-price in 9.99 out of 10 cases.) * Emotional bond with Clients, Vendors. (BEAT THE BIGGIES ON EMOTION/CONNECTION!!)
The “Small Gu y s” Guide: Wallop Wal*Mart16 * Hands-on, emotional leadership. (“We are a great & cool & intimate & joyful & dramatically different team working to transform our Clients lives via Consistently Incredible Experiences!”) * A community star! (“Sell” local-ness per se. Sell the hell out of it!) * An incredible experience, from the first to last moment—and then in the follow-up! (“These guys are cool! They ‘get’ me! They love me!”) * DESIGN DRIVEN! (“Design” is a premier weapon-in-pursuit-of-the sublime for small-ish enterprises, including the professional services.)
The “Small Gu y s” Guide: Wallop Wal*Mart16 * Employer of choice. (A very cool, well-paid place to work/learning and growth experience in at least the short term … marked by notably progressive policies.) (THIS IS EMINENTLY DO-ABLE!!) * Sophisticated use of information technology . (Small-“ish” is no excuse for “small aims”/execution in IS/IT!) * Web-power! (The Web can make very small very big … if the product-service is super-cool and one purposefully masters buzz/viral marketing.) * Innovative! (Must keep renewing and expanding and revising and re-imagining “the promise” to employees, the customer, the community.)
The “Small Gu y s” Guide: Wallop Wal*Mart16 * Brand-Lovemark* (*Kevin Roberts) Maniacs ! (“Branding” is not just for big folks with big budgets. And modest size is actually a Big Advantage in becoming a local-regional-niche “lovemark.”) * Focus on women-as-clients. (Most don’t. How stupid.) * Excellence! (A small player … per me … has no right or reason to exist unless they are in Relentless Pursuit of Excellence. One earns the right—one damn day and client experience at a time!—to beat the Big Guys in your chosen niche!)