How Do You Define A Successful Business?

A successful business is one that knows when to reinvent itself. A few months ago, I was fortunate to attend the 3PL Summit in Atlanta GA. As I have mentioned in a previous article, the conference was focused around two main points: disruption and a 2-year cycle.

Fundamentally, the concept of the 2-year cycle is to create breaks for businesses to evaluate the market, their standing, and their offerings and adapt. A company is required to maintain it's progress MOM and YOY, but it needs to continuously push past the competition by reinventing themselves and creating competitive advantages.

Few companies can do this long-term, and we are finding out who they are very quickly. Most of them get caught up in the maintenance of the progress they've made, bogged down by buyer's remorse, or don't see the writing on the wall when they need to adapt. We've watch historical pillars of business topple over a few years due to their inability to change and reinvent themselves.

Looking back at these companies, how did they not see the writing on the wall?

Yes, I am talking about Toys "R" Us. By committing to the brick and mortar model, they failed to adapt to the e-commerce model fast enough. And that is all that is left of them: empty brick and mortar. They aren't the only one that I could list off. People have provided plenty of examples for us to learn from. So why aren't we learning?

We are arrogantly looking at the companies and how they operate, but not how they're structured. There's a common belief that when an individual takes over a team or department, they immediately find an issue or directive that they want to put their stamp on and change. That individual is bringing a fresh perspective on the industry and attempting to adapt their company to meet either the consumer's or industry's demands better.

Think about it. Who are two of the most revolutionary businesses today? Amazon and Uber. Companies are viewing their ability to disrupt their markets and want in. We've heard so many "we are the Uber of XXX" or "we are following the Amazon recipe for XXX" comments that it's becoming the standard process of communicating a goal or a vision. Uber's success is built off of being able to hail a ride from anywhere, know who is picking you up, and seeing the cost up front. Uber didn't make or create GPS, but they figured out how to revolutionize the market using it. They have become synonymous with what consumers or, more holistically, people want.

Uber and Amazon, regardless of whether or not their efforts are productive, launch new endeavors regularly. They continue to innovate and adapt. They are paramount examples of what it means to disrupt your own business or create better industries. At this point, it is hard to conceptualize a company circumventing either of these behemoths; however, we used to say the that about K-Mart and Sears, but when was the last time you stepped foot in one of those?

This is business; it is not the business of yesteryear, not even yesterday. It is not stopping, it is always listening, and it will run you over if you take a break to smell the roses. Share your thoughts below.



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