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Are You Going Out of Business and You Are the Last to Know?

I was talking to a second-generation business owner. He and his brother run a business started by their folk manufacturing some really well built home furniture. In order to produce, they require highly skilled team members. Their furniture lasts forever, is expensive to manufacture and doesn’t come cheap.

They were sharing with me is that sales have been flat. Most recently sales have been going down. One brothers told me point blank, “It’s the Internet.” Wealthy customers that can afford their stuff now go online, find something they like and don’t even get to consider them. On top of that, people are now buying the IKEA like furniture. It’s trendy. They like it. They buy it until they get tired of it and then get new ones. So paying for their furniture that last forever isn’t as attractive as it used to be.

I’ve spoken to others in a similar situation. One was a Miami custom tailor specializing in Haute Couture men’s suits. The price per suit starts at $5,000. He shared with me that for decades he’s been serving wealthy attorneys, bankers, investment brokers that wear suits every day. Casual work trends killed his business. He’ll retire soon and so will his business of 30+ years.

The world has always been changing. The issue now is that change happens faster and faster. All us business owners have to be on the lookout. The disruptor that looks like nothing today can quickly become the thing that turns your industry, market, business upside down and drives you out of business.

It’s tough to see an up and comer before they become your disruptor. This is especially true when you run a business that’s has been successful for decades. You have systems and teams in place that are proven over time. You have a target market that really appreciates what you do.

At the same time think about the following:

  • Who would have anticipated what Uber and Lyft did to the taxi business?
  • Who predicted the disappearance of small family run bookstores when Amazon started selling books online?
  • Who saw the mainstay video store Blockbuster falling like it did to Netflix?

I’d like to challenge you like I challenge myself. I’d like to have you open up to people outside your exact industry and talk to them about what they see in your industry that could be your kick in the ass. Reach out to someone who sees what the Internet has done in markets similar to your own and what that could mean if it happened to you.

I can’t tell you enough how important it is to anticipate the trends that can lead to your downfall. Unfortunately for too many, it came out of no where.

Now I’ll get back watching my Netflix video, taking pictures with my iPhone camera after having driven from the airport on Lyft. All new version of something I used to do a different way.

Hope this helps.