The business and consumer environment has changed drastically due to the COVID pandemic. This has caused a lot of innovation to be necessary for people and businesses to overcome extreme startup challenges and be able to operate on a daily basis. Changes had to be made and some businesses halted entirely.
Learn From Those Who Came Before You
Let’s talk about some lessons and strategies that brought hardship and success for businesses we’ve known over the years. Sears, for example, was very successful in the first decades of its establishment. In 1893, Sears was a retail store that set the standard in its industry. The use of the country’s growing railway system at the time gave Sears the leverage needed to one of the best. When cars were becoming more accessible to the American people, Sears had more stores built near major cross streets to be there for its customers.
Today we are aware that Sears didn’t make the cut, but at the start of its journey, this company was forward-thinking and proactive about being accessible to its consumers. Over time, the leadership of Sears lost sight of its need to be ahead of the game and make decisions that keep them relevant in the industry.
Research Your Industry’s Stock Value
Having stocks allows you to share ownership of your company in exchange for investments and the element of spreading out the financial risk in the result of failure. It’s important to gain investors and know how things are going for your competition. You may also have some partners in the stock market that you’re doing research on. The point is to have knowledge of what investors are buying and selling to guide your approach to raising funds. Find the unicorns that overcame startup challenges to scale and grow. Not everything gets handled on Wall Street, there are alternatives to NYSE and Nasdaq like OTC markets.
It’s Not Just COVID That You’ll Be Dealing With
Even without a pandemic, running a business can be a tough challenge. Some of you may remember the names of businesses like Sears, Blockbuster, and Radioshack. These companies suffered due to a variety of poor business strategies. So we can’t blame all financial mishaps on COVID. Still, we must take all factors into perspective as entrepreneurs looking for success.
Expect to Make Changes
When it comes to Blockbuster, this company offered video rental services in a way that would virtually bring in every customer twice. This was beneficial in multiple ways. For example, late fees brought in $800 million in a single year and the expansion to around 400 stores across America. As time passed, Blockbuster would go on to turn down opportunities to buy Netflix and would even fall short of creating its own video-on-demand service to compete with cable companies. Blockbuster held fast to methods of service that were simply going out of style at the time and its profits suffered. So with your own company, you want to be aware of how the ways to serve your audience are changing. Be ready to redefine your business to stay afloat.
Think Long Term
Starting up a business that stays means that you want to do things carefully and correctly. This means you will need diligence and patience to face the usual and extreme startup challenges. Create an action plan, a working document, that will outline what is to be done, who will be accountable, the necessary resources, and how progress is measured. An action plan will be the foundation where your strategies are applied and it will provide the criteria which will gauge your success. Rome wasn’t built in a single day. You may want to stand out an appeal to consumers right off the bat, but a balanced growth path is probably going to be more beneficial.
Pay Attention to Your Competition
When it comes to Radioshack’s downfall, a variety of detrimental business choices were made. But the one we’re going to focus on is a choice that all three of these businesses made. They doubted their competition. Blockbuster had the opportunity to buy Netflix who outperformed them thanks to the mail-in system and no late-fees, not long after the offer was on the table. Sears was losing customers to Walmart due to Walmart being able to respond to customer demands much faster and efficiently. Finally, Radioshack failed to gain an internet presence and, eventually, people started shopping through Amazon and eBay.