The Sweet Science

In the sport of boxing, also known as the sweet science, fighters of similar weight compete by class — heavyweight, middleweight, lightweight, and flyweight – to allow for a fair bout. It makes sense because generally someone from a lighter weight class would not have much of a chance against a heavier fighter. However, occasionally, a fighter will come along that can “punch above their weight.”

Used figuratively, the phrase “punching above their weight,” can describe a situation where a company competes against larger firms based on some strategic advantage. For example, a small specialized engineering firm located next to a great STEM university may have access to students and faculty that allows them create new products faster than larger firms and to compete globally using networking advantages.

Similar to boxing, as a class, midsize firms often “punch above their weight” to achieve the unexpected. Some of the things they do to create advantage include:

  • execute changes – pivot quickly in response to market conditions
  • employ pricing flexibility
  • emphasize personalized customer relationships
  • maintain a high level of product/service specialization
  • accept the challenge to innovate continuously

These and other strategies that allow midsize firms to “punch above their weight” ultimately enable them to build a more favorable won / loss record. SBTDC’s Strategy & Growth unit has a demonstrated record of punching well above its weight and can help you do the same. Give us a call to learn more.

FYI — in the news: Why Aren’t American Teenagers Working Anymore?


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