When the elephants fight, the grass suffers (African proverb). Don’t pick a fight with the elephants of your industry. Don’t play in the field where they are fighting. You don’t need the elephants to lose for you to win. You just need to avoid getting trampled. And you need to think through five essentials: Conditions, Customers, Competitors, Collaborators, Capabilities.
Elke Goversten has done this well at parenting magazine, Mamalode. As a small player in a declining industry Elke knows her organization’s survival depends upon avoiding the wrath of the big players. Elke told me it’s all about “focus and flexibility” while choosing to “only exist in a business model that was as meaningful as our product.”
This is a classic case of Zigging when your competitors Zag. Worst choice: compete with industry giants head-to-head with commodity products. Better choice: differentiate into product niches the giants either don’t care about or can’t compete in – or even better, follow Mamalode down the path to differentiated, protectable business models.