- 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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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.
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.
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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