Business Strategies of Worldâ€™s Successful Companies: BOC Group Plcâ€™s Winning Business Strategies
An in-dept revelation of the business strategies that have helped BOC Group to transform from a small business start up with only a sound business idea, to a multinational business that it is today.
Business Strategy 1: Sound Ideas Will Attract the Needed Financing for Your Businessâ€™ Start-up
One great strategy entrepreneurs can use in generating the financing they need to start up their business is to present the business idea before people who have money to invest in the idea.
This is a great way to get your business off the ground quickly and without much risk – sometimes you may not even need to put down anything else except the business idea, thereby bearing no risk at all.
If your business idea is real hot, it will surely attract the financing you need from money bags, popularly called Angel Investors, who will be glad to invest, start it up and benefit from the business opportunity you are presenting.
In 1885, having invented and patented the method of making oxygen by heating barium oxide, the two French brothers and chemists, Arthur and Leon Quentin Brin needed financing to start up the business of producing oxygen.
To make this possible their strategy was to travel to South Kensington, London, to exhibit their invention at the Inventions Exhibition that took place their. Because their business idea was hot they were able to get an Angel Investor by name Henry Sharp to invest and start up the business, which eventually was established as a small business named Brin’s Oxygen Company Limited in January 1886.
Business Strategy 2: Find New Ideas to Develop and Market Your Business
When we bring new ideas into operating our businesses, be it small business or large, start-up or already existing business, the impact is usually strong. Ideas help you confront tough situations in your business and provide solutions to them.
This is why businesses which desire to grow from small start up businesses to multinationals never stop generating fresh ideas to operate on.
BOCâ€™s only product when it started business was limelight. But the small businessâ€™ board members were worried because limelight was a limited market.
Therefore, to expand the companyâ€™s revenue source, BOC looked for new ideas to increase the sale of oxygen. And the strategy they came up with was to promote the use of oxygen in several different new ways.
This included the use of oxygen in preserving milk, production of iron and steel, manufacturing of saccharine, vinegar and linoleum, bleaching sugar, and maturing whisky.
The strategy was immensely successful. The companyâ€™s sales of oxygenated water in all forms – flavored and unflavored – increased greatly. And soon the small business start up was on its way to joining the big stage.
Business Strategy 3: Discover the Best Distribution Strategy for Your Product
Production is not complete if the product your business is offering does not readily reach its customers. However how excellent your other business activities are, without an effective distribution strategy that will make your product available to consumers conveniently, your business may still not be successful.
It is therefore a matter of necessity that your business understands and employs the most efficient and effective strategy (including considering the cost of implementing it) that is peculiar to your business or industry for distributing your product.
In the early years, the common means of storing and distributing gas was by the gas bag. This was highly inefficient and caused the business huge loses in both gas and profit.
Even after the company improved on it and introduced iron cylinder which was sturdier, it was still not profitable for business to use it in distributing gas over long distances as the cylinder weighed and cost even more than the gas that it contained.
Then in 1887 BOC came up with a distribution strategy that was to bring the needed solution for it business. it started granting licenses to independent companies throughout Great Britain to produce oxygen under its process.
Again, in 1890, BOC made an improvement in containment. It produced a steel cylinder, which became the industry standard of containing gas worldwide.
Furthermore, in the 1950s BOC found a better strategy to distribute liquid oxygen to various industries. This it did by building tonnage plants on or close to customer site.
Business Strategy 4: Donâ€™t Stop Improving On Your Product/Service/Process
Most especially, your customers will appreciate and continue to patronize your business if they see you are concerned about giving them more value for their money. They will even go on to refer people to your business, and thatâ€™s guaranteed more sales for your business.
In addition, having a strategy in place in your business to ensure the continual improvement on your product, service and process will keep competitors lagging behind.
One of many remarkable things BOC made in its business is its repeated improvements on its product distribution strategy and containment.
From the early gas bag method of storing and distributing its gas, the company improved the process to the point of granting licenses to independent companies to produce oxygen and distribute it for them by 1887.
And they also developed steel cylinder as a more efficient means to contain oxygen, which soon became the standard of gas containment worldwide.
Business Strategy 5: Expand Your Business into Foreign Territories
After putting your business on a solid footing, the next thing is to take it away from the small business category (thatâ€™s if itâ€™s a small business).
You now need to replicate your business strategies in other lands. Having a business expansionist strategy is a hallmark of successful companies.
They do not only explore business opportunities locally but have it right in their business plan to seek more opportunities in other territories.
In 1890 BOC began unfolding its expansionist strategy by exporting oxygen in cylinders for medical use to Australia, and by developing plants in France, Germany and the US, giving them the sole right to apply its production process. And by 1950 it had formed subsidiary businesses in over 20 countries.
Business Strategy 6: Recognize Opportunities and Develop New Markets for Your Business
New inventions and changes in technology make it possible for materials to be applied in more diverse ways than before. An important business strategy for success no doubt is to be able to recognize when such changes occur and quickly position your business to reap the opportunities that are thrown up â€“ opportunity to develop and dominate new markets.
Developments in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in new applications for liquid nitrogen. BOC prompted moved ahead to develop new markets in transporting bull semen for artificial insemination, refrigeration, preserving medical tissues, food preservation and packaging, and storing.
This it did by setting up BOC-Linde Refrigeration Ltd. with the German Linde AG in 1968; it bought quick frozen food suppliers, Ace Refrigeration Ltd. and J. Muirhead Ltd in 1969; and from 1969 to 1973 held Batchelors Ltd. â€“ an Irish food processing business.
Business Strategy 7: How Do You Plan To Grow Your Business?
For your business to be successful and remain so, it must grow and continue to do so. For this reason, one of the things your business plan must address is your growth strategy â€“ how do you intend to grow your business from a small business start up to large or even multinational business?
After World War I, BOC continued implementing its growth strategy. It acquired other businesses such as Sparklets in 1920 – a London company that was a major producer of small arms munitions during the War.
Ten years later BOC merged its business with a South African company Allen-Liversidge Ltd., with whom it had partnered with throughout the 1920s in the development of acetylene welding process.
Then came 1978 and the company hadnâ€™t stopped growing it business, i.e., its growth strategy was still been executed. The company made one of the biggest moves (if not the biggest) in its history, it bought Airco.
This was a company almost the size of BOC in terms of products and growth. The acquisition consequently doubled the size of the company, leading to the change of its name from Brin’s Oxygen Company Limited to BOC Group.
BOC also grew its business through the development of commercial use of its products. These included acetylene and the rare gases, which it developed and marketed for use in products like neon light, respiratory gas in obstetric analgesia, fog lamps, as protection for divers against the “bends.”, and minerâ€™s lamps.
Business Strategy 8: What Future Plans Do You Have For Your Business?
The edge great businesses have over others is that they operate on a strategy that get them prepared for the future before it comes.
They make short, medium and long term business plans that make them not to be caught unawares by the challenges that will come, but to ride on it and seize the unfolding business opportunities before they become obvious.
So where will your business be in the next five, ten or even twenty years time?
Right from the 1970s, BOC, under Leslie Smith as company Chairman began making plans for its business in the coming 1980s. A major plan the company had was to expand into the Far East with the setting up of British Oxygen (Far East) Ltd., in Tokyo.
Business Strategy 9: You Can Exploit Business Opportunities in Other Business Sectors by Diversifying into Them
There is nothing wrong at all if you spot profitable business opportunities in other business areas and go for them. This brings you more revenue no doubt; however you should ensure you donâ€™t take your attention away from your core business.
The 1970s also saw BOC executing its diversification strategy. It exploited such business opportunities as the production of additives for inks, paints, and adhesives; the production of fatty acids and resins.
Business Strategy 10: Know When to Divest Your Business from Unprofitable Businesses
Though, as it is said above that itâ€™s a wise business idea to seize business opportunities in other business areas, yet you shouldnâ€™t hesitate to sell off or divest non-core businesses that are no longer profitable.
Continuing to hold on to these businesses may not only constitute a drain in your financing, it will also sap you of quality time and resources that should have been channeled into strengthening your major or core business.
In the aftermath of the oil crises between 1973 and 1974, BOC decided to sell off its non-core businesses as they were not performing well.
The company focused on its gas and health care businesses that were its core businesses. This was done so that they could expand production in those areas, especially in the Far East, the Americas and Europe.
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