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Future Focus: How 21 Companies are Capturing 21st Century Success

Future Focus: How 21 Companies are Capturing 21st Century Success

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Theodore B. Kinni Editor of The Business Reader Review, a free electronic newsletter of capsule reviews of new business books. Al Ries Voted one of the top 100 most influential public relations people in the 20th century by PR Week. Savvy business peopleand investors around the world are asking, what do we have to do today to prosper tomorrow, next month, next year? That’s the question that started Al Ries and Theodore Kinni working on Future Focus, the book that answers the question: what will it take to succeed in business in the next century and new millennium? They found the answers among twenty-one focused, innovative, and protean companies. Future Focus explores each of these 21 companies in turn. Each company is introduced by a quote from one of its leaders, an Executive Snapshot that offers a fast insight into the strategic vision of the company. What can you learn from Future Focus? There are many practical business lessons in the book. They revolve around four major themes: 21st century success is focused. Almost all of the Future Focus 21 have flirted with diversification. Almost all have lost money on the outside ventures and are extremely focused as of today. Those that continue to operate outside their core businesses are usually in related businesses and are building a vertically integrated operation. The lesson: Get and stay focused. 21st century success is innovative. The Future Focus 21 are innovators. They are busy searching out original products and services or they are busy introducing existing products and services in markets that have never seen them before. Either way, they are innovators in the marketplace. The lesson: Be Innovative. 21st century success is global. With a single exception, each company in the Future Focus 21 is a global business and is trying to get more global. A well-focused company replaces the urge to diversify its businesses with the drive to diversify its markets. The lesson: Go global. 21st century success has speed bumps. There isn’t a single, sustained upward ride in any of the Future Focus histories. Sooner or later, a competitor beats you to the next best thing or the bottom drops out of your customer’s market or the whole economy heads south for a breather. The lesson: Be prepared for hard times.