I was deeply saddened by the news that an ex-client of mine was placed into administration this week. A large multinational manufacturing business with over 200 UK employees based in Ellesmere Port. What makes this news particularly saddening is that the company was the best in the world at what it did – but there was a (known) problem…
It was part of a global group who were the world leaders in manufacturing newspaper print. It served a severely declining sector. What turned out to be the wrong sector.
I have another client who is the best in the world at providing sound equipment for film and music studios. They have a growing pipeline of orders as cinemas continue to evolve and grow their offerings, such as the recent 3D Avatar movie (for which they incidentally supplied the audio equipment). They had been through some tough times over the past 5-10 years when the movie industry was in the doldrums but now they are in the right sector at the right time (again).
All industry sectors have their peaks and troughs. Look at the dot.com boom and bust. Who would have thought the banks could have got themselves in such a state? We have neither the time nor the ability to gaze into crystall balls but we can:
- Strive to become the best in the world in our chosen niche
- Look out for changing trends in customer behaviour or practise
- Avoid deluding ourselves if we spot that external factors (e.g. competitors, trends, government policies etc) are moving against us -then take action
- Stay nimble and flexible so that we can change direction, reinvent etc as necessary
- Watch cash – you never know when you might need that buffer
- Never feel comfortable. Never bury your head in the sand
- Listen to your customers and team
- Continually reinvest in that next killer idea for a service or product
There are disproportionate rewards for those businesses that can become best in the world in their sector. The trick is to remember that things never stay the same and that you must continually invest in seeking that next best in the world product or service. Reinvention. Always.