Remember Blockbuster?

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In 2005, Blockbuster had 9,000 video stores and 60,000 employees.  They provided a desired service, they became a household name, and their future looked bright.  But just five years later, Blockbuster was done.  They had not adjusted to changing market trends.

In 2008, Blockbuster was looking at expanding their brand through other businesses.  In 2010, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy.  I remember the local store selling its inventory at clearance prices.

Blockbuster lost to the internet and streaming video.  Hello Netflix, goodbye Blockbuster.  So, as you work your business plan, how sure are you that your product mix is sustainable for the long term?  How fast can you adjust to what is now the unforeseen?

Here are seven tips to help you stay ahead of the curve.

7 Tips For Staying Ahead of the Curve

  1. Continuous change is the new norm, and the key to staying ahead of the curve is innovation.  To thrive in changing times, anticipate where the trends are headed and get there before they do.  This means staying on top of where your niche is headed.  Who’s killing it?  Who’s not?  What’s the critical difference that makes the best the best? How does that translate to your business?
  2. Are your products evergreen?  I remember the words of my friend from Hawaii, Eric Suganuma: “What’s hip today will soon become passe.” Stay away from trends and stick to evergreen products to weather the trends.  There are changes that occur that do effect even evergreen products.Make sure that your evergreen products are current (otherwise, they’re not evergreen).
  3. Don’t be afraid to take risks.  Risk-takers are rewarded in high-change environments.  Not foolhardy risks, mind you, but calculated risks that propel your business forward.  If you see something in your niche that no one else is doing and you believe it to be a profitable avenue, take it.
  4. Work diligently to keep your business moving forward.  This means paying attention to your key metrics, and evaluating not only where you are at a given moment, but where your business is headed.
  5. Keep learning.  In a time of continuous change, those who are not life-long learners will be left in the dust.
  6. Consider what changes can be made now to your business that will put you on the best road for maximum return on your investment of time, talent, and financial resources.
  7. Make solid, firm decisions, and adjust as necessary when events don’t pan out as you anticipated.  The key here is to make the best decisions possible given what you know and making the adjustments as quickly as circumstances change.

Blockbuster was in bankruptcy court because they didn’t adjust to the changing market trends.  That’s the lesson of Blockbuster.  Use it to your own advantage as you plan for your business future.

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