Any business will run into difficulties and at those times, business crisis management is needed to steer the organization back onto the right path. The most crucial question in starting a business is also by far the hardest to answer. What business? The question applies equally to the company that's soldiered on for years, staying put and staying small - or smaller than its owner would truly like. The same effort, applied in a more fertile field, would generate better results. The problem is finding the field.
There's a marvelous moment in The Graduate when a friend of Dustin Hoffman's screen father buttonholes the young man and offers him a one-word recommendation: 'Plastics'. That's not been a bad business, either. Nor has the one nominated by Lord Rayner in his early days as a managing director of Marks & Spencer. Asked what business he would recommend to an aspiring entrepreneur, Rayner didn't hesitate: specialty breads.
That phenomenon has applied in many other markets, from stereo to ice cream. Purchasers have traded up, going for better quality at higher prices. The small firm, stealing a tiny proportion of the large company's mass market, can make a tidy fortune in its special niche. But that general principle still doesn't answer the specific question. It doesn't even need asking, of course, if you have a special skill, some high-tech brilliance that's certain to win customers - if it works.
That's not unknown in British retailing. Video games are traded that way in many a High Street. But surely no purveyor has matched Funco in selling Nintendo and Sega: this American firm has grown by 179% a year. It's no longer small, with $50.5 million of sales. But that expansion meant multiplying nearly tenfold in five years from a small base. In 1991 there were just three FuncoLand stores. Today there are 127: they average some Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£300,000 of sales a year, by no means on the far side of the moon.cone crusher:http://www.hx-china.com/5.html
The relevance of American experience to Britain is long-established. Eating chains are only one of the business imports which continue to demonstrate that the Atlantic is easily crossed eastwards. Feeding is still fast-growth in the US, where new operators are stealing a free ride from McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut and the rest. Just as the enormous growth of sliced bread stimulated the taste for something superior, as spotted by Rayner, so the proliferation of the vast fast-food chains gives their chance to successes serving slower Texan-style steak or chicken-on-a-spit.
It helps, of course, if the proprietor's instincts and interests coincide with the business choice jaw crusher. Anita Roddick's recent rash of troubles can't obscure the fact that, by following her own feelings about natural cosmetics, she built Body Shop into a fabulous business: and one which, reversing the usual flow, travelled successfully to America. But chickens-on-a-spit, whose original three locations are now hundreds, attracted three non-foodies from Blockbuster Video: while the video-game king of FuncoLand came from mail-order computers (he'd gone bust) ore beneficiation. Ultimately, only one instinct matters: the nose for a profitable turnover.
Choose the Best Market in a Crisis Period