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Big Tippers

The factors that push businesses over the edge and into the type of growth there's no coming back from

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This story appears in the December 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Market research and competitive intelligence have always been a minor part of the services provided by Steve Rice, a Florham Park, New Jersey, environmental management consultant. However, after reading a book about a concept called the tipping point, the 48-year-old former corporate environmental executive plans to revamp his strategy, pushing a little harder to pitch competitive intelligence and thinking more about whom to pitch to in hopes that these offerings may lead to a growth surge for his business. "The tipping point got me to thinking," Rice says, "whether this could be a bigger part, if not the biggest part, of my business."

The basic idea behind the tipping point is that things can happen fast. The tipping point is the point at which a situation that may have seemed stable or only very slowly changing suddenly goes through a massive, rapid shift. "It's the boiling point. It's the moment when the line starts to shoot straight upwards," explains , author of The Tipping Point (Little, Brown), a book that explains the concept of the tipping point and ways it can be used in business and in life.

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