By 1986, Dell was ranking about $60 million in sales annually. Great, but the goal they had set was $1 Billion by 1992! One way to achieve that ambitious growth was to translate Dells’ explosive growth in the United States into expansion overseas.
Michael Dell decided to start with U.K. He surveyed the British markets and realised that there was demand for Dell had. When Dell opened his UK business, he held a press conference to announce that news. Virtually every journalists who showed up was convinced Dell would fail. Their reasoning?
While the direct buying model may have worked well in the U.S., it could never be transplanted to the UK. Buying directly from the manufacturer was not something, the British were used to doing. But the company’s UK business was profitable from the get-go.
Even in Asia, the same story played out and success followed. Ultimately it’s the customer who decides what works – not naysayers who often look in the rare view mirror, instead of much farther down the road.
For Michael Dell, the lesson learned was simple: “Believe in what you are doing. If you have got an idea that’s really powerful, you have just got to ignore people who tell you it won’t work, and hire people who embrace your vision.”
De-briefing of the story
A good idea is usually a good idea in any part of the world, whatever the differences. As long as the business concept is good and no one presents convincing arguments, criticism is much like hot air or jealously. Just because one way of doing things has been in existence for years that doesn’t mean -you can’t do it in a better or efficient way. There is no progress without change.
Time required to Share this story (with de-briefing) – less than 5 Minutes
“It won’t work” – Ignore that” this story can be used to explain the importance of
1- Believing in your business model
2- Going global
3- Ignoring critics
Power of storytelling by Jim Holtje
Michael Dell, direct from Dell (New York: HarperBusiness, 1999)