Incremental growth is fine, but many entrepreneurs want powerful moves that can deliver huge successes. Small-business experts Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. MacMillan identify scores of such strategies in MarketBusters (Harvard Business School Press, $26.95).
The 40 strategies they identify fall into five categories: transform customer experience, transform product offerings, redefine profit drivers, exploit industry shifts and enter new markets. Within each are more finely tuned strategies. For instance, in the section on profit drivers, the authors describe how redefining key metrics can spur whole new approaches to business.
In a move more authors should follow, Gunther McGrath and MacMillan include negative case studies as well as success stories. So in addition to telling how a cement company redefined metrics to become a global competitor, they recount how a publisher spent millions but still failed to unseat its established competition because its new magazine lacked clear advantages. The book's primary shortcoming is the brevity with which it treats complex ideas, but entrepreneurs can use it as a guide in their search for detailed solutions.
Mothers control $1.7 trillion in annual purchases of products and services, making them America's most muscular consumer group. Yet, according to maternal-marketing experts Maria T. Bailey and Bonnie W. Ulman, most marketers use outdated approaches when selling to moms. In Trillion-Dollar Moms (Dearborn Trade, $23), they show entrepreneurs how to mine today's mother lode with the help of original consumer research, experiential insights and case studies. Among the takeaways: Segment mothers by their children's ages, not the mothers' ages. Hence, treat a toddler's boomer mom more like a Gen X toddler mom than another boomer with older kids.
Mark Henricks is Entrepreneur's "Staff Smarts" columnist.