Where do we go to find the reincarnation of a business, the best new brands on the planet or the rebirth of an industry in decline? Sectors are shifting and we see it a lot, businesses are changing and with it, comes natural attrition, the average players are falling off the long tail of poor providers, followed by reduced opportunity and competition for the remaining.
Too often, the business, the brand or the industry in decline is looking for an easy one-stop solution. (Group A) look to opportunities such as acquisition or new market sectors in hope to acquire a clutch of new products and services.
Some companies (Group B) are involved in redeveloping the business model, value proposition and hitting the market with fresh ideas. They find a trend and follow it.
Then there are the organisations that are in blind panic (Group C). They look to the past at what made them successful and try to replicate it over and over. They become bureaucratic in finding a solution. They often look to local government for support for solutions to resuscitate the business or market that may already be in terminal decline.
For the first group (A), the question is a relatively sensible question if you are a private organisation that needs to diversify or create a dynasty of companies to expand the portfolio. Maybe one will fly.
The companies in the second batch (B) are probably well informed enough to know what they are looking for but might need to be reminded it is not as simple as going to the latest trend or fad, snapping some insights and then reshuffling you’re page numbers to adjust your strategy to align to a new way of thinking.
As for the group looking to the government for solutions (C), they should recognise that it is not just about turning to a group of bureaucrats to help revive a declining sector, they need a series of elements to converge first to restore confidence in the sector, generate investment, spark interest, encourage consumers to trust and engage and even take up new consumer loyalty.
Too often too much time is lost in organisations that invest too heavily on the grand scheme, taking up too much capital, cumbersome planning but often too grand in its ambitions and often, time is lost on the ability to provide the simplest level of life support.
George Bernard Shaw’s quote lends itself to solutions:
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You image what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last, you create what you will.”
Decline is a reality for every business. We all fear it. There is a more difficult challenge though and that is a market without competition. When everyone is gone, and you are the last man standing, what are you going to do?
Raise prices? Increase profits? Lower quality? Reduce service? Increase service?
When you are the last man standing, people have nowhere else to go but to you. Sadly, neither do you. When the market exists, you have a platform for growth, when it’s gone, it is gone and so are your options. We need competition and we need to create new demand when the players fighting it out to provide the best market solutions do so in the interest of competition.
The best businesses in the world seek out competition, they look for the players winning and they look to provide better, faster, more human solutions to win in that sector. They solve real human problems in the fastest possible time and they do it with a unique advantage, whatever that may be.
Amazon is feared. Feared by almost every consumer brand on the planet because they love competition. They take up the challenge and provide a level of competition that improves the service for the end user. The competition, are left wondering.
Amazon has made it easy for other vendors to use their technology platform and even to sell items on their site. Why? Because they understand that more competition brings more attention, more business, more commerce. And since they are organised for volume and are eager to compete, more competition helps them.
There is a paradox here and it is usually linked to old thinking and sacred cows. Some business believe their hands are tied in moving forward on innovation, digital, new alternative models, even the Internet. Sure, they do the best they can, but most focus on ownership and protection, they need to protect assets and ideas, prices that need support, sacred cows that cannot be touched. They argue, how could they wipe out current business strategy just to compete?
This conversation happens every day. You want new thinking, but not at the expense of the old.
Which is great, unless your competition doesn’t agree.
What do you need to reimagine?
(Image: Nathalie DuPasquier)