When you look at the industries that have collapsed, or are in the process of collapsing, you realize that those industries were usually serving consumer needs that have not gone away. People still need to read the news. They still enjoy reading books, watching movies and travelling. What they don’t necessarily need was the same way of fulfilling those needs.
The leading companies in each of the declining industries are almost never the ones who benefit from their long-term understanding of consumer needs because they are invested in the method of fulfilling those needs.
Barnes and Noble, for example, was late to the party with e-commerce and the Nook was a me-too by the time it was launched. When you are so heavily invested (both mentally and in terms of capital investment) in the old way of fulfilling needs, it takes incredible courage to disrupt yourself.
By the time desperate, last ditch moves are made to change the model, it’s usually too late.
If you’re in an industry that has been successful in the past but you now see yourself slipping, take heart. You understand one thing about that industry better than the entrepreneurial start-ups.
You have been satisfying consumers’ needs for something for a long time. Start with that knowledge. Wipe everything else on the slate clean and ask yourself these questions:
- How do they want it fulfilled today and in the foreseeable future?
- Can I satisfy that need by packaging it differently, or delivering it differently?
- Am I capable of doing what’s necessary to change?