12 August 2012
Asking a company director “what business are you in?” usually produces a swift and predictable answer. We all tend to define our business by what we do – so the broker will tell you she is in “the insurance business” and a retailer may tell you he is in “the fashion business”.
The obvious answer is not always the right one, however, and getting the answer correct is fundamental to business strategy.
Take motor cycle manufacturer Harley Davidson, for example. At first sight, the company is pretty clearly in the ‘transport business’ or maybe the ‘motor cycle business’. The company itself has apparently recognised that this is too simplistic, however, and has (according to a speaker at a conference I attended some time ago) redefined its purpose. It now believes it is in the ‘big boys’ toys’ business. More...