How do I develop my company into a hidden champion?

Hidden champions want to maximize their market shares and contain their existing trade conflicts – but these are just two of them characteristics of these companies. Furthermore, the market leaders are known for their R&D and internationalization activities.

From company founder to hidden champion

If you want to become self-employed or have already started your own business, the question arises how your own company can grow into a hidden champion. These are among the top three companies worldwide and/or are the market leaders in Europe. Germany is known for the large number of its hidden champions, which include around 1500 – 1620 of all German companies, and benefits from this economically: The international market leader achieve an average turnover of 326 million euros and support around 2000 jobs.

Despite their size and global importance, the defining characteristics of the hidden champions have rarely been studied. A research team has now got to the bottom of this and was able to four characteristics determine what sets economic giants apart from other companies.

The key characteristics of the hidden champions

These companies have had the greatest success with a marketing strategy that international appearance was marked. In addition, there is the will, your own share of the market to maximize and initiate the necessary processes. This includes, for example, development and research activities that contribute to the improvement of technological processes. It is noteworthy that other factors – such as further training measures – do not seem to play a significant role. The number of Employee on the other hand, reflects the international rank. This is justified by the high demands of a global presence and the associated competition, which can be a problem for smaller companies in particular. After all, a large part of the current hidden champions Products here, the distribution or service sector is only represented to a small extent.

Publicly available subsidies do not play a decisive role for these companies. The reasons for this are not clear and may also differ from company to company – while some are not state-owned financial support need more, the needs of others are not met by grants. State support is regularly accompanied by restrictions that companies in difficulty often accept. But with a certain size comes a superior position that allows for more independent action.

A large number of hidden champions have emerged in Germany in recent years. This suggests that the country has succeeded in doing this optimal conditions to create – for example in the form of dual training systems. These provide companies with valuable workers who are also trained and educated. In addition, there are public support institutions such as the Fraunhofer, Helmholtz and Leibniz Institutes, which support companies in the development of new innovations and with regard to technology transfer.

The outlook into the future

The public support measures and optimal framework conditions will be influenced to a large extent by the advancing digitization in the future, but also by a feared shortage of skilled workers. The task of economic policy It is therefore to adapt to this and respond to it through targeted funding. On the other hand, selective support for company founders is not felt to be sensible: Success cannot be predicted enough to rule out the risk of funding being wasted.

In addition to optimal domestic conditions, the elimination and prevention of trade conflicts also play a crucial role. Otherwise existing ones will run internationalization thresholds Risk of being increased and emerging companies face costs that otherwise could have been avoided. Ultimately, such conflicts can result in the loss of valuable sales markets that are essential to growing a business. A management consultancy that diagnoses current problems and draws up a plan like this one is often useful here long term can be solved (service tip: search for a consultant). Ultimately, the success of the hidden champions is based on a good foreign trade policy, which expands the company by recognizing and using market niches and leads to a certain planning security.

Further information on the topic and sources of contributions: Entrepreneurship in focus (external PDF link)