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Book Review - Outsmart!

Book Review -- Outsmart!
How to Do What Your Competitor's Can't
... by Jim Champy

Champy looked at high growth companies that have a track record of hyper growth for three years or more and came up with eight strategies that companies might want to consider when trying to achieve that kind of success for themselves.

Anybody running a business will tell you that they would love to be able to achieve this kind of sustained success, but these examples are from real life companies as opposed to theories!

1. Compete by Seeing What Others Don't.

One example Champy uses here is Sonicbids, a Boston based company that launched in 2001 and grew from revenues of $250K in 20043 to $8 Million in 2007. The founder was a musician who saw a market gap between talented musicians who are looking for work and promoters who are looking for talent. He created an online agency that now has 10,000 promoters connecting with 120,000 musicians. The need had been there forever ... he seized the opportunity!

2. Compete by Thinking Outside the Bubble.

Minute Clinic was a notion to allow people looking for healthcare to get quick, relatively inexpensive care without going to the emergency room. The idea was conceived 8 years ago and the company was bought in 2007 for $170 Million cash. They applied the same concept as the quick oil change/muffler companies to the healthcare field. It doesn't take a doctor to deal with many ailments so a nurse practitioner manning a booth can handle a lot of business!

3. Compete by Using All You Know.

Smith and Wesson grew its business from $100 million in 2003 to $237 million in 2007. The success is attributed to bringing in someone from outside the arms industry who was able to apply lessons from their previous management experiences ... in the furniture business.

4. Compete by Changing Your Frame of Reference.

Shutterfly was an online photo finisher that reinvented itself as an internet based social-expression and personal publishing service. The success has come by focusing on the Shutterfly client "community" and providing that sense of community. The twin strategies of (a) focus on the community and (b) broadening the offerings, has led to success.

5. Compete by Doing Everything Yourself.

S A Robotics bucked the outsourcing trend by taking responsibility for all aspects of the robotic products through the full life cycle. This means more investment, potentially higher cost but an ability to control quality that is tougher to do when companies piecemeal parts of their operation to other companies.

6. Compete by Tapping the Success of Others.

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters hitched the success of their company to the iPod. Recognizing the need for accessories that were not being supplied by Apple meant there was a huge opportunity and this company jumped right in!

7. Compete by Creating Order Out of Chaos.

Partsearch is company that creates order to the millions of parts that are available to retailers, repairmen, and consumers from the many manufacturers of various products. The manufacturers have their own way of presenting the data, with no consistency making it difficult for an individual to quickly find what they need. This technology driven solution meant growth at an annual rate of 85% to become a $64 million company in 2006.

8. Compete by Simplifying Complexity.

Smartpak packages medications and supplements for horses (and now dogs) that ensure owners can provide the dosages correctly at the right time. By simplifying an existing process they created a market opportunity that saw them grow a $40 million business!

This book is very practical, focused on real life examples of success and therefore should prove to be excellent, and thought provoking material for any entrepreneur or budding entrepreneur.