How flexible are you regarding your business, products or services? I ask this because many business owners miss out on great opportunities, through failing to spot the evolving needs of their marketplace. Let me explain.
The need for flexibility
The multinational Blockbuster video chain, went from being the world’s leading destination for movie rentals to bankruptcy – Partly through being inflexible in it’s thinking. It totally missed the opportunity to be the first to develop a world-class movie download service, by sticking too long to an outdated model. As The Guardian newspaper reported, an online service came from nowhere to gain a massive commercial advantage and grab millions of it’s customers:
“Online video on-demand, dominated in the US by Netflix, which has 17 million subscribers and is soon to launch in the UK, sounded the death knell for Blockbuster, the video rental giant, which followed MGM into the bankruptcy courts in September.”
Embrace flexible thinking
The great news here, is that by adopting a more flexible approach, you have an opportunity to gain a massive commercial advantage over your stuck in the mud rivals. Of course, your clients and prospective clients may not be asking you directly for something new. But by listening to the marketplace, it’s possible to identify common problems, which you can solve with new products or services.
Remember, the development of your business should be guided by what the marketplace wants and needs; NOT by copying what your competitors are doing.
Leslie Nielsen: A lesson in flexible thinking
After hearing the sad news of the death of Leslie Nielsen earlier, I remembered one of the most interesting facts about this wonderfully gifted actor. He was 54 years old when he became an international star, after his role in the smash hit comedy movie; Airplane. Until that point, Mr Nielsen had been a “serious” actor for decades. However, this didn’t stop him going for the comedy role in Airplane, which saw him become an extremely successful comedy actor.
Had Mr Nielsen closed his mind to that comedic role, he would have missed the biggest opportunity of his career.
The marketplace is evolving faster than ever. The business owners who refuse to move with the changing demands of their clients and prospective clients will quickly become irrelevant.
The bottom line: Never change just for the sake of it, but always listen to your clients and your prospective clients and look for ways to make things better.