- Research Feature
- Read Time: 21 min
Entrepreneurs can learn to maintain discipline while pursuing an opportunity and manage — rather than ignore or avoid — the uncertainty that comes with the territory.
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Many studies have shown that the most treacherous time in the failure-strewn business of mergers comes after two companies tie the knot, when they attempt to combine operations. Surprisingly, however, they often destroy value not as a result of inattention to detail but through excessive zeal in their integration efforts.
Every company lives in fear of competitors that offer seemingly similar products for much lower prices. Dealing with such discounters is no simple matter, as Hewlett-Packard, May Department Stores, Salomon Brothers and others have discovered. Nevertheless, various strategies — ignoring or blocking the competitor, strengthening your value proposition or even strategic retreat — can help slow or even stop the low-end competitor without destroying the industry’s profit margins.
Kellogg‘s profit margins and the stature of its brands both declined throughout the 1990s. A wake-up call came in 1999 when the venerable company lost market leadership. The author describes how it embarked upon an ambitious and, for the food industry, novel strategy, emphasizing profit and value over volume and employing compensation and organization strategies to help cascade the change through the company and re-establish its innovativeness, profitability and reputation.
A four-year study of Japanese business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce initiatives reveals the innovative ways Japanese corporations exploit traditional aspects of Japanese business and consumer retailing — specifically, the consumer’s preference for paying with cash and the willingness of corporations to form cooperative alliances (the keiretsu model) — to further develop the
Does the belief that a manager‘s overriding duty is to maximize shareholder returns encourage socially destructive actions by corporations? Employing economic, legal and behavioral analyses, the author concludes that, although the shareholder theory is often inaccurately maligned, stakeholder theory may be more conducive to curbing the kind of impropriety seen at Enron and Global Crossing.
A decade ago, Procter & Gamble’s paper-towel production line in Albany, Georgia, used to jerk to an unexpected stop more than a hundred times daily, costing the company thousands of dollars each time in wasted product and lost production time.
What do Kmart, Lucent, Bull, Marks & Spencer, Moulinex, Polaroid and Xerox have in common? All are examples, say the authors of a recent white paper, of once thriving companies that seem unable to reinvent themselves in response to environmental change.
During the dot-com frenzy of the late 1990s, most large, traditional companies scrambled to find successful e-business strategies to fight off the aggressive new challengers. Unsure of how to proceed, many turned over their Internet efforts to the CIO and the information-technology organization. In most cases, that was a mistake.
The information age has created a host of digitized products — in the realms of software, databases, music, videos and electronic books — that can be produced and distributed with low variable costs, resulting in high gross margins.
Has strategy changed in the wake of the recent economic frenzy and subsequent downturn? Is the New Economy finished? Has the Old Economy returned? At this point, most managers understand what the advent of the Internet implies — operating efficiency for most companies, a terrific channel for some and a
Corporate diversification is a prime example of a once-popular management idea that has fallen from grace. In the 1960s, the “conglomerate kings” — giants such as Gulf & Western and ITT — snapped up dozens of businesses to general acclaim.
How do you compete with opponents that have size, strength and history on their side? The authors use Palm Computing (later Palm Inc.) to illustrate how the core principles of judo strategy — movement, balance and leverage. The offer lessons and specific techniques that other companies can emulate in order to compete successfully with a stronger player.
The Internet has created new markets, customers, products and modes of conducting business. The authors explain why seven popular strategies are not the path to profitable growth and provide thoughtful guidelines for avoiding misconceptions and taking a sensible approach to business on the Internet.
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