In this age of globalization, Robert Bloom asserts that remaining a niche player is not an option for businesses worldwide. Businesses, both small and large, have to adopt growth strategies in order to remain profitable and remain relevant in an ever changing world.
In The Inside Advantage, Mr. Bloom sets out with the premise that the road to achieving sustainable growth does not require a dramatic change in an organization through a re-organization or via costly acquisitions. Rather, such steps might prove to be ineffective and detrimental to the firm.
It is preferable to adopt a simple strategy that focuses on using the organization's extant resources in identifying its customer and addressing their needs effectively.
The Inside Advantage takes a consulting approach in providing a framework for simplifying the task of growing a business. The Growth Discovery Process described in this book is a simple but powerful framework which can be adopted by any type of organization, large or small, profit or non-profit, and irrespective of industry.
The book commences with a clear focus on clearly identifying the target customer, the "WHO", and the perils of trying to appeal to a broad customer segment to maximize the product's profitability.
From here the framework proceeds to highlight the steps in identifying the uncommon offering, the "WHAT", the firm provides to its customer. The aim is to define the firm's business not by focusing on the business transaction but by the broad experience the company seeks to provide to its customer base.
Persuasive strategies to differentiate the company's product in a competitive marketplace, the "HOW", is explained clearly. The final section on "OWN IT" gives a ringside view of the thinking and the strategy behind many unconventional yet wildly successful marketing campaigns. This demonstrates various innovative ways by which to capture the market's attention and to ensure that the company remains well entrenched in the customer's mind for its strengths.
Several cases are presented and developed illustrating the Growth Discovery Process giving both a practical guideline to the process of developing the strategy as well as examples of successful strategy formulations.
Numerous examples are given about companies in otherwise "commodity" businesses have enhanced their product offerings in novel ways to stand apart from the rest of the marketplace. Also, at each step, the author describes a consulting session in which a real-life case is presented and the process steps in formulating the strategy are described in full.
The Inside Advantage is a refreshing change from other business books which seek to "break" the firm and re-build in a new mold which would somehow magically become effective in a highly competitive environment.
Throughout the book, the authors have described cases from real-life clients including Neiman Marcus, Southwest Airlines, and Nestle. For each step in the framework, the book gives examples from a variety of industries, both big and small, how to apply the framework.
Mr. Bloom's key thoughts on growth are highlighted throughout the book. The book is a practical and clear guide for businesses to achieve sustained profitable growth, and is well recommended for business managers and entrepreneurs encountering growth dead-ends and are looking to grow their business to next level.
The above review was contributed by:Manoj Rengarajan: Manoj holds a Master of Financial Engineering - University of California, Berkeley and he works in the investment management industry and specializes in providing economic and investment outlook and strategy for global equity and government bond markets. He has an educational background in financial engineering, business, and engineering, and professional interests include business, finance, economics, technology and related areas.
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