One of the mistakes I made in building my business, was to under-appreciate the importance of scale. There has been a sea change in business over the last 20 years. Product lifecycles have shortened. There has been a democratization of start-ups with the falling cost of technology. Barriers to entry have reduced due to globalization and the web.
These have all combined to make business increasingly a ‘winner takes all’ market, if you are to be anything other than a highly niche player. You need to grab the market and the returns whilst they are there. Companies, like individuals, have lifespans with many of even the most famous brands and their owners dying or drastically needing to reinvent themselves.
This means a concept must be replicable and scalable from the outset. The window of opportunity is small and the competition very intense in virtually every field. Earlier in my career, many industries had many multiple medium-sized companies in them, today these have typically all been acquired or have gone bust. Michael Porter’s strategy matrix, basically said ‘Be cheap or be different’, I would make it ‘Be cheap or be different, quickly!’