Think Big, Act Small: How America's Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-up Spirit Alive
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Tradition says there are three ways to grow a company’s profits: Fire up the sales team with empty promises, cut costs and downsize, or cook the books. But what if there’s a better way—a way that nine amazingly profitable and well-run companies are already embracing?
Jason Jennings and his research team screened more than 100,000 American companies to find nine that rarely end up on magazine covers, yet have increased revenues and profits by ten percent or more for ten consecutive years. Then they interviewed the leaders, workers, and customers of these quiet superstars to find the secrets of their astoundingly consistent and profitable growth.
What they have in common is a culture—a community—based on a shockingly simple precept: Think big, but act small. It works for retailers like PETCO, Cabela’s, and O’Reilly Automotive, manufacturers like Medline Industries, service companies like Sonic Drive-In, private educational companies like Strayer, industrial giants like Koch Enterprises, and software companies like SAS.
These companies think big ideas about solving customers’ problems, making better products, and creating value. And yet they never stop acting like start-ups—staying humble, treating every employee like the owner, and teaching managers to get their hands dirty.
Jennings and his researchers have updated this book with new stories and insights about why these companies continue to thrive—through the economic downturn—and have now increased revenues and profits for fifteen consecutive years. Any company, no matter the size or industry, can benefit from following their examples.
wrote about did not occur because they had five-year plans carved in stone. In fact, one of the primary reasons these companies are able to consistently grow their revenues by double digits every year is thanks to an absence of an inflexible long-term plan. While continually casting their collective eyes toward the long-term horizon, each company understands that locked-in long-term plans are a waste of time unless short-term plans are properly executed and achieved. Serious consequences occur
Don’t cut or cap commissions or make across-the-board reductions in sales expenses to improve the short-term financial picture. It will bring you certain disaster the following year. • Pay people for bringing in gross margin—not gross revenues. Get them invested in profitability—not revenue generation. • Negotiate an annual revenue and gross profit quota for everyone and tie at least 20 percent of their annual compensation to their achievement. • When making decisions, make certain to ask, “Is
pointed out that any firm where a majority of the satisfied customers could be so easily convinced to leave was extremely vulnerable. His next finding was the showstopper. His research consistently indicated that fewer than 5 percent of the company’s customers who described themselves as completely satisfied would consider leaving. “It’s imperative,” he said in conclusion, “that we must do whatever is required to move customers from the satisfied category into the completely satisfied category,
Research The Research: Eating an Elephant The initial assignment was to identify the companies that do the world’s best job of consistently growing revenues. How does someone go about identifying the best anything in the world—let alone figure out how they do it? Here’s the story of our two-year journey to find the best of the best. A search at the Web site of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States confirmed my fears. “There are,” according to the site, “more than
questioner, and helpmate. LESS IS MORE HOW GREAT COMPANIES USE PRODUCTIVITY AS A COMPETITIVE TOOL IN BUSINESS by Jason Jennings This bestseller was the first book published by Portfolio, a new imprint of Penguin Group USA, in December 2002. The book identifies the most productive companies on the planet based on the criteria of revenue, cash flow, return on invested capital, and return on equity per employee per year. The companies written about in the book include: Nucor Steel, World