While some entrepreneurs have languished during the economic downturn, others have searched for growth and found it--with a vengeance.
That's one conclusion from Boston Consulting Group's report titled Allies and Adversaries about the 100 fastest-growing businesses in the developing world. These companies--most of which you will probably not have heard of--are finding double and triple digit growth and they're doing so in pretty traditional ways. In other words, they haven't discovered a new rocket fuel. They're doing what all companies could be doing.
Here are a few of them:
Aspen Pharmacare is the largest manufacturer of generic drugs in the southern hemisphere. Based in South Africa, it bought drugs from GlaxoSmithKline and sells them around the world.
Gondrej Consumer Products made a billion dollars in 2011. It sells shampoo, detergent, personal care products, and has grown largely through acquisition. I wonder why it bought companies that western businesses did not.
A number of mobile operators--VimpelCom in Russia, MTN in Africa--are groing at phenomenal rates. They don't have any particularly brilliant technology. They're just smart acquirers, and ferocious salespeople.
The Boston Consulting Group report is well worth reading even though (like most consulting firms' publications) it is marketing material for a book which is marketing material for the consulting business. But it poses two important questions all entrepreneurs should take to heart: Since growth is out there, why aren't you finding it? And, if these 100 companies are doing so well, how can you partner with them?
There's also a problem with many of these companies. They're what the late, great Ray Anderson would call plunderers: taking from the earth and putting nothing back. That's an opportunity for their competitors; it's an opportunity for those who can show them how to do better. What are you waiting for?