We see it all around us every day. Yet many businesses do not believe it can happen to them. We are witnessing the extinction of previously successful business models. Some of the more obvious examples include:
• Travel Agencies
• Book Stores
• Music Stores
• Smaller Stores (hardware, shoes, candy, etc.)
We are also seeing the closing of post offices across the country. This American institution has been operating since 1683.
For those of you reading this who believe that this shakeout is only happening to old or outdated businesses, let me remind you about MySpace. This social media phenomenon was founded in 2003. From 2005 to 2008 it was the most visited social networking site in the world. It sold for $580 million. In 2006 it surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States. Then, along came Facebook. Traffic to MySpace has been declining ever since. In 2011 the company sold for just $35 million.
It is critical for businesses to realize that we are in a new world of change. This is not a fad. It is the new environment in which all businesses need to operate now and in the future.
Key distinguishing factors that all businesses need to constantly look at today include:
• How are we truly adding real value to our clients/customers?
• How are we creating a community around their brand?
• How are we engaging our customers and clients in meaningful, emotionally binding ways?
• How can we change to do things better each and every day?
Looking at the previous examples of businesses listed in this article, all of them failed to materially change over time. This allowed them to be overtaken by someone who was able to offer similar services in a new and better way. This made them extinct.
Businesses can no longer rest on the laurels of providing a great product or a decent level service. In today’s wired world, there are plenty of choices available for this level of performance. The odds are also pretty high that someone is able to offer something “close enough,” for a lower price.
So, whether you are a law firm, medical practice, educational institution, construction company or tradesperson, be sure you understand and address the key distinguishing factors listed above. These will allow you to set yourself apart from your competitors, stay ahead of the curve and avoid extinction.
How to use this Information
On a regular basis, take a look at your business, your key customers and the overall competitive landscape in which you operate. Then, being as completely honest as you can, address the key distinguishing factors listed above and make sure you have good answers.
Please share with our readers how your business is truly adding real value to your clients / customers beyond the expected level of product performance or service that they can receive from some of your other competitors.