Adapting and evolving is part of life. Adapting in business is no different. Being responsive to change is vitally important to continued success. If you are standing still and still doing the same things this week, month or year that you were doing last year, then you are probably going backwards. If what you have been doing for the last X number of years is not working or giving you what you want, then why are you still doing it? 

From my own personal experience, when I set up my Advertising business with a business partner in 1987, we were doing something so different to what we were doing when the business was sold in 2016. We evolved into an Advertising Agency. We never set up to be one. At the time of conception we were just selling advertising space. This we continued to do for over 30 years, but the business changed so much over that time. We evolved into the Outdoor Advertising sector with 5 services growing to over 50 services. We ran as a business partnership, a limited company, as co-directors and then from 2007 when my business partner left, I ran the business on my own – albeit with the support of a very successful and committed team – until I sold the business in 2016. Massive changes throughout the whole of this time. It was necessary to continue to survive and thrive. It is one of the areas I now help the small business community 

So what are you doing to adapt and evolve or are you still doing the same thing you did when you started the business? If you have never read “Who Moved my Cheese” and “Out of the Maze” by Dr Spencer Johnson, I can highly recommend. They are the best books I have ever read on change and how to adapt. 

As I am Berkshire based, let me give you an idea of 3 local companies with a total business history between the 3 of them of 416 years and how they all contributed to their own demise. 

Drews the Ironmongers – 87 years in business and 4 generations. Closed January 2019. 

They blamed external circumstances. The report show in the press said, “We have traded in Reading for 87 years but unfortunately the costs of running a bricks and mortar business now dominated by internet merchants mean that it is no longer a viable business.” 

Carters Outdoor sports clothing – 200 years in business. Closed December 2019

They blamed external circumstances. They only started their online business in 2017. Amazon started in 1995. Their Operations Manager confirmed “The business has had to close due to changing shopping habits”. 

Newmans Shoe Shop – 126 years in business. Closed in February 2020. 

They said they closed because it was “Not possible to compete in a global market”

The one similarity between the “excuses” for going out of business is the growth in internet marketing. All of these businesses came to the game far too late. They would have seen the trends, would have seen the impact on the marketplace, and refused to react or reacted when it was too late. We cannot afford to just be reactive, we need to be proactive. They created their own downfall, just like we can create our own success – or downfall if we are not careful.

For me, as we move forward and for us to survive and thrive in the business world, we need to have a mix of great online and offline marketing activity. We need to make sure we keep the “human” side to our business and offer great service and relationships. This is going to be key to business success. 

This article was first published on LinkedIn by Richard Knight on 08/11/2021