The only constant is change, and businesses that don't adapt die. No business is immune to this.
If you have a desired destination and know what you're trying to achieve, it makes it so much easier to act effectively and keep travelling in the right direction.
Let's explore that idea.
As markets and consumer trends change, businesses must adapt to the current reality. Each industry will have a different threshold for the minimum amount of change required to stay relevant and the tipping point (where you're no longer relevant and fade into obscurity) will be different for each business. One thing is certain though, consumer trends and markets are constantly changing, and those that embrace it thrive.
Case Study - Kodak
Kodak went from being at the top of its game in 2001, when analogue film sales peaked worldwide, to filing for bankruptcy in 2012 as worldwide demand for analogue film had dropped to less than 1/10th of its peak-volume in 2001.
Their sales went from $14 Billion in 2000 to $7.2 Billion in 2010, a 48% drop largely attributed to their blind obliviousness to the rise in demand of digital photography - a technology that they invented in 1975 but dismissed. Steven Sasson, the inventor of the first digital device told the New York Times "They were convinced that no one would ever want to look at their pictures on a television set".
Kodak, through their industry leading R&D department, actually created the market disruptor (digital photography) in this case. Their downfall was failing to pursue it and adapt their business to it.
Case Study - Amazon
To understand what can happen if you acknowledge and embrace change, look no further than Amazon, which started with ambitions to be the largest book store on Earth.
"Bezos selected the name Amazon by looking through a dictionary; he settled on "Amazon" because it was a place that was "exotic and different", just as he had envisioned for his Internet enterprise. The Amazon River, he noted, was the biggest river in the world, and he planned to make his store the biggest bookstore in the world" - Wikipedia, History of Amazon
Amazon, a company that started with ambitions of being the largest bookseller in the world, launched their Kindle (a digital e-reader device for e-books) in 2007 and acquired Audible in 2008 (a leading Audiobook company). In just two years, in 2010, Amazon announced that e-book sales for its Kindle reader outnumbered sales of hardcover books.
Audiobooks took a little longer to take hold, but with continual nurturing and device upgrades over time, Amazon now own company that has the lion's share of the audiobook market. A market which has seen double digit growth annually for the last decade and is now a Multi-Billion dollar industry.
Both e-books and audiobooks were rightly perceived as a direct threat to physical book sales, and Amazon could have buried their head in the sand and ignored them as Kodak did with digital photography. Instead though, by embracing and leading these new emerging technologies, Amazon was able to capitalize on these trends and corner the market for all three formats.
By planning the next evolution of your business and the direction that you want to take it in, you're building strong foundations for your future. Not every new initiative or adaptation will work perfectly, but the returns on the ones that do will deliver benefits that outweigh the cost of the failed initiatives ten-fold.
If you're struggling to know where to look next, look to your network for someone who has adapted and evolved their business. If no one comes to mind in this space, consider consulting a trusted advisor that specialises in planning for new initiatives and capturing growth trends.
Bonus - Questions to ask yourself if you know where you're going:
- Do you have a timeline for this next evolution of your business?
- Do you know what the logical next step is to move forward?
Time to start mapping the next level of your business? Click here to book a call
Until then, Onward & upward, Jake