Cows, Stars, Dogs and Question Marks: the BCG Matrix in a Small Business

Being small thinking big.

Small businesses have a luxury that large companies do not: making decisions and executing them rapidly. Without much effort the business owner can introduce a new product or service and just as easily discontinue it. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much thought went into the decision.

Enter the BCG Matrix

A small business can use the BGC Matrix to categorize their products and services based on how much cash each brings and how much effort each requires. BGC Matrix



Cows are great, they require little effort and produce good cash. This is the product that will keep the lights on but will not send your kid to college. Drip coffee is good example of a cow.


Stars are good, they are popular, produce cash but require more effort. It’s the type of product that you should m

arket as a small business owner. A caffè latte is a good example of a stars.


Dogs are bad, they produce little cash and take effort and eat up resources. Not everyone will like your awesome new product, get rid of it.

Question Marks

Question marks are bad, there should not be a product or service in a small business with a question mark. The whole goal is to quickly find out if the new product or service is a start, cow, or dog. A product with an identity crisis will cost you.

By using the BCG Matrix in a simple way, a small business owner can make better decisions on which products and services to keep and which ones to discontinue.

Click here to view details on the BCG Matrix over in wikipedia.

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