Kickass Companies: Leveraging business models with great leadership

Kristian Brøndum, Christian Nielsen, Kim Tange, Frans Laursen & Jesper Oehlenschläger


Business models, leadership, high-performing SMEs


This paper is based on a study of 755 Danish SMEs and further in-depth case studies of 12 of these. Its
objective was to identify a model of components and relationships among the very best, most efficient,
high-performing SMEs. We call these Kickass Companies. The result is a model made up of six interrelated dimensions, which together illustrate what makes up a Kickass Company:

  1. You need willpower
  2. You need to be there for your customers
  3. You strive to be the best
  4. Success is a “we thing”
  5. You need to be able to accelerate
  6. Use motivating KPIs

Following these six dimensions might not be a guarantee of success, and not all components will be implementable in all types of companies. However, the empirical evidence here suggests that, if companies think along these lines of doing business, their probability of success will be higher than otherwise.