What does it take to create a successful business? From the looks of it: mud, electric barbed wire, icy water, enormous walls to climb, big jumps to make, team work and complete exhaustion – the recipe for every successful business.
Tough Mudder was founded in 2010 and runs gruelling extreme obstacle courses for anyone mad enough to think it might be fun. In the BBC News article below, you’ll see that there is a discussion as to intellectual property rights, but whatever the outcome, this company has become the main provider of such extreme sports in a remarkably short period of time. Within 2 years of being established, it had gained 500,000 participants and now records annual revenues of more than £60m. Add to this, that there has no external funding and this organic growth is beyond impressive.
A key question, then, is what creates such a successful business? Without a doubt, this depends on the product you are selling and the market a firm is in, but there are some aspects that apply across the board. Understanding what your customers want is crucial, as they represent your demand. Differentiating your product to create inelastic demand may be a good strategy to enable price rises, without losing a large number of sales, but the differentiated product is essential in establishing demand, loyalty and reputation. Marketing something in the right way and to the right audience is crucial – word-of-mouth is often the most effective form of advertising.
If you have all of these aspects, then you have the makings of a successful business. The next step is putting it into practice and climbing those high walls, taking the big jumps and hopefully avoiding the mud and ice. The following article considers Will Dean and his fast growing business.
Will Dean: ‘The Mark Zuckerberg of extreme sports’ BBC News, Will Smale (9/6/14)
- If you were starting up a business, how might you go about finding out if there is a demand for your product?
- Why is product differentiation a key aspect of a successful business? Using a diagram, explain how this might help a firm increase revenue and profits.
- What forms of marketing might be used in persuading customers to buy your product?
- In the case of Tough Mudder, which aspects have proved the most important in creating such a successful business?
- Are there any barriers to the entry of new firms in this sector? If so, what are they are how important are they in allowing Tough Mudder to retain a monopoly position?
- Which factors should be considered by a company when it is thinking of global expansion?