Most businesses reach the point where further growth is difficult. Going beyond their existing markets is full of risks and uncertainty. Entering new markets, geographies or categories, is the moment when many successful companies fail.
„Pilot Fish“ is a strategy for more effective growth in today’s turbulent markets.
The best opportunities for growth are in deep blue oceans, but few smaller companies are able to reach them, compete in them and thrive. Except the „pilot fish“ …small, special and very strong.
The most difficult part of growing a business is when you seek to enter new markets. They are hostile and different, demanding new knowledge and capabilities, and requiring significant investment and resources.
„Pilot Fish“ strategy is counter intuitive.
Instead of becoming bigger to grow, it is about remaining small. Rather than diversifying into new products and services, it is about focusing on less to achieve more.
In nature, pilot fish swim with the big fish, doing the things they can’t or don’t want to do, whilst being protected and sustained.
In business, „pilot fish“ work with strategic partners providing a small number of specialist ingredients, but with huge potential scale.
Intel is the ultimate „pilot fish“ attaching itself to the technology giants, becoming an indispensible component. Jibbitz created decorations to Crocs shoes and was acquired by latter for USD 20 million. So in addition to create scaling opportunities, Pilot Fish strategy opens up great exit opportunities.
And there are many others. Small, strong and specialist companies that found that they can have huge impact through focus and partnership, doing less to achieve more.
Like Estonian mobile phone operator EMT that has little chance to compete against orange, Vodafone or alike but has lucrative international business by providing roaming pre-paid cards to all of the major telecom players. It also works at individual level: Cath Kidston, the designer grown through licensing from her kitchen and co-operating with Tesco, Nokia and others.
If you are not big but you wish to swim with big, benefit from their presence and strength, you need to become a Pilot Fish. The process itself is simple:
so 1-2-3-4 and there you go! It might not be that easy but this blog helps you to become a Pilot Fish in business and life.