The Management of a Life Cycle

Do you know that your business has a life cycle? Just like a product has a life cycle. Change happens, nothing lasts forever.

If you walk into my office you will notice a television. If that TV is on, chances are it’s tuned to Fox Business. There are two reasons for this.

Reason 1: I love Stuart Varney. I think Mr. Varney is brilliant and I enjoy having his show playing in the background as I go through my morning.

Reason 2: I like having a business perspective of the day’s news.

Recently, a major story on business news has been the collapse of the retail market. American malls, once the crowning glory of a generation, are going dark or being forced to innovate and find new sources of revenue. One by one stalwart companies are either restructuring or liquidating.

If you listen to the pundits you’ll hear all sorts of reasons for the downfall of the retail sector.

Public enemy number 1: Amazon.

Consumer tastes are changing. People buy everything over the internet.  There is no need to go into a store anymore. [As someone who takes two years to find a pair of pants that will fit without extensive tailoring, I disagree with this assumption, but I digress].

There seems to be a prevailing sense of “who will save us today.”

There is a life cycle for everything under the sun. People have life cycles. You’re born. You live. You die.

Business Lifecycle concept
Business lifecycle concept on blackboard

Products have life cycles which any Marketing 101 student should be able to clearly elucidate.

So why don’t people believe that an individual company or corporation also has a lifecycle?

I contend that the corporation as is at founding is not meant to exist in perpetuity.

Want to talk about Darwinism? It’s survival of the fittest. Businesses need to change and adapt to survive.

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I was affiliated with an organization that was in a dying industry.  The management team admitted to a slump but, refused to acknowledge that their industry was dying. The go-to strategy became one of desperation. Better sales, better customer service, more knowledge than the competition.  Guess what?  Sales and customer service are never going save a business in a dying industry.

We hear this story frequently. From news, from friends. The desperation to stay alive when your business model is no longer relevant.

So, you ask do we just roll over and die?

Hell no! You fight.

At STCG we advocate a 4-step program:

Step 1: Acknowledge there is a problem.

Step 2: Seek qualified help.

Step 3: Listen to the help!

Step 4: Implement changes.

Step 1: By acknowledging there is a problem you take the first steps to being able to salvage your business. Any 12-step program worth its salt will tell you to admit you need help first, which brings us to:

Step 2: Seek qualified help. Hire a consultant not involved in your business who can objectively research the situation and make informed and rational recommendations.

Step 3: You are paying a consultant good money, in many cases a great deal of money. They are experts with perspective and objectivity. Take the proffered recommendations

Step 4: Implement changes. Whoever coined the phrase “Innovate or Die” was dead on. Diversification into a new service offering or product line is the future.

Skeptical?

Before Shell Oil was Shell Oil they were an import/export company.

Western Union went from sending telegrams to becoming the largest money transfer service in the world.

Editor-In-Chief Steve Forbes laid out how Forbes magazine had to change to survive in their 100 anniversary Collector’s Edition[1].

The point is these companies found another path to leverage business success and so can you. By recognizing the need for change and the foresight to make it happen you can take your business to new heights.

 

 

[1] Source: Forbes, Steve. “Our First 100 Years.” Forbes 28 Sept. 2017: 23-28.

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