How do you beat a Goliath?

Everyday we have new companies setting sail with hopes and dreams that they would leave some lasting impressions on the far shores. Not always, the start-up has a deep pocket and scales up fast to become a rival of the existing big players in their segment. So, these Davids keep growing up and start dealing with the Goliaths. Many of them chicken out, some of them fight it out and a few grow into a stage of defeating the Goliath. Of course, each David wants to win. How can they deal with the huge mismatches in their sizes, track record and so on?

Pour your heart into the mind!

Firstly, it is the self-belief and perseverance. IBM is a big company; many companies have taken birth after IBM. While many of them do not exist now, there have been companies like Microsoft who have not only survived but flourished to become another Goliath. So, the point here is that Goliath need not be just one; a start-up of today is a new-born who will grow strong and tough to emerge as another giant. A fresher today could be the Chief Executive tomorrow! One needs to believe in it, persevere on the journey to achieve the goal. There will be many falls on the way and some victories as well. However, the key is to keep going until one is closer to the mission.

Size doesn’t matter. It’s the pace that counts!

Secondly, the Goliath finds itself to be huge, inflexible and amorphous often. Things take longer to happen. Some customers find the brand to be reliable and trust it because of its history, however, they do not appreciate the pace of action. The response time is often too long for a giant. This is the opportunity for the David to capitalise.

They need to prove that the size doesn’t matter rather it is the pace that matters. They need to convince the customer about the consequences of the speed and flexibility with which they will deliver. Right from designs to product quality, cost, image and customer service, it’s the speed and quality of execution that determines value for the customer. Hence, our David must focus on these and give a tough competition to Goliath. That is how Hyundai has been able to grow into a giant while General Motors has been the Goliath always.

Small company mindset

Many CEOs and Founders have pushed their teams to behave like a startup and build a culture that’s akin to a startup where execution is fast, ideas flow easily, Team Leads take important decisions and find a say in the direction in which the company needs to move further. These are easy to visualize and beckon but hard to implement in a real big firm employing thousands of people.

There are downsides of small company mindset as well. Davids need to take special care to ensure that the scarcity mindset doesn’t cast its shadow on the quality of execution in the firm which can potentially erode the trust of the customers, partners and the employees. Also, it is critical that the David keeps beating its benchmarks continuously instilling faith and trust in the minds of the stakeholders. This leads to cycles of investment and positive reinforcement.

Easier said than done! David can if he is determined, persevering, agile, efficient and far-sighted!

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