When growing it’s quite common for people to look at the successful people in their field and what they are doing now so that they can emulate them. Looking at business strategy examples is encouraged by our social media feeds with all the gurus and their “this business is successful do what they do” posts.
Yet it can often be the worst thing that you can do. If you are starting a business in the UK, looking at a business which is at a different stage than yours and trying to emulate it more likely than not won’t help you.
Businesses at different stages have different resources, different objectives and require different business strategies.
What they are doing now isn’t why they have the level of success that they have right now, it is what will (hopefully) at the very least maintain their current level and take them to the next level.
If you want to get to where they are, you need to model their past business strategy, what they did in the past to them to where they are now.
It’s a bit like starting out as an investor and emulating what Warren Buffet does now (80% of his time reading company prospectus’ and meeting notes, and evaluating markets, which is his role in the large company he has built over many years) when it would be a lot more helpful to model what he did in his very early days as an investor.
Or watching a motorcyclist race the last few laps, giving it his all and taking more risk, attacking to pass or defending his line to keep others behind him. Yet that’s not the strategy for two thirds of the race. If they don’t have a clear speed advantage where they can make a break at the front and ride a clean race to their pace, they will be staying with the front pack, taking less risks to avoid crashing, conserving their tyres so that they have more grip on the last few laps, watching the strengths and weaknesses of the riders around them so that they can exploit them in the last few laps.
Can’t relate to that example?
How about watching a marathon runner slowly jog the last 10 feet before walking across the finish line and thinking that’s how you win a marathon – jog and walk.
And then there is all the behind the scenes training and lifestyle choices that you don’t see.
What they are doing at that stage of the race, isn’t what got them to that stage of the race.
The success stories that you see today, are the business strategy examples equivalent for the last few laps of the motorcycle race, the last 10 feet of the marathon.
What you need to do to emulate their success is to apply the principles they were following 3, 5, 10 years ago (business is a long term game) to the circumstances and resources of your business as it is today.