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Harv Bus Rev. 2005 Dec;83(12):62-72, 150.

Strategy and your stronger hand.

Author information

1
TCG Advisors, San Mateo, California, USA. gmoore@tcg-advisors.com

Abstract

There are two kinds of businesses in the world, says the author. Knowing what they are--and which one your company is--will guide you to the right strategic moves. One kind includes businesses that compete on a complex-systems model. These companies have large enterprises as their primary customers. They seek to grow a customer base in the thousands, with no more than a handful of transactions per customer per year (indeed, in some years there may be none), and the average price per transaction ranges from six to seven figures. In this model, 1,000 enterprises each paying dollar 1 million per year would generate dollar 1 billion in annual revenue. The other kind of business competes on a volume-operations model. Here, vendors seek to acquire millions of customers, with tens or even hundreds of transactions per customer per year, at an average price of relatively few dollars per transaction. Under this model, it would take 10 million customers each spending dollar 8 per month to generate nearly dollar 1 billion in revenue. An examination of both models shows that they could not be further apart in their approach to every step along the classic value chain. The problem, though, is that companies in one camp often attempt to create new value by venturing into the other. In doing so, they fail to realize how their managerial habits have been shaped by the model they've grown up with. By analogy, they have a "handedness"--the equivalent of a person's right- or left-hand dominance--that makes them as adroit in one mode as they are awkward in the other. Unless you are in an industry whose structure forces you to attempt ambidexterity (in which case, special efforts are required to manage the inevitable dropped balls), you'll be far more successful making moves that favor your stronger hand.

PMID:
16334582
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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