Having a successful business today is no guarantee that you will still have a successful business tomorrow. Making decisions is an art. And even though sometimes the decision may seem obvious, they are not always made correctly. Let's go through these particular situations where famous entrepreneurs could have made their businesses bigger but made the wrong decision, which led to downfall for most of them.
Staying ahead of the situations and learning from the mistakes of other entrepreneurs is possible. So, it is time that you, someone who is just starting their first business, take a look at these cases so that when you are in the same situation, you are able to think twice. Would you have made the same decision if you were in their shoes?
An Unhappy Customer is your Greatest Source of Feedback
'The customer is always right', isn't it? In the old days, Enzo Ferrari didn't think so. Ferruccio, one of his customers, once came to Enzo to tell him about a mechanical failure his Ferrari car had and, being a mechanic himself, to find a way to fix it.
To listen to his customers or not?... Enzo decided not to. After all, Ferruccio was just a mechanic.
Ferruccio, unhappy with Enzo's answer, promised himself to build the best sports car ever. And so Lamborghini was born.
Had Enzo listened to Ferruccio, there would be no rivalry today. Even more, if Ferrari had taken Ferruccio on their team, would you imagine what kind of cars we would have today? I guess we'll never know.
If you’re not Moving Forward, you’re Moving Backward
The world is constantly changing, and so should your business. Following trends, keeping up with your customers' likes and dislikes is something that will keep your business going through the years. But no one told Kodak or Blackberry that.
Kodak was the leader in photographic film throughout the 20th century; their slogan "Kodak moment" was well known and used by thousands of people worldwide.
Blackberry was an absolute hit in the mid to late 2000s, including former U.S. President Barack Obama as one of its most loyal users.
The world was clearly moving towards digitalization and touch screens. But both stayed true to their core functions and said NO to evolution.
Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012, and a year later, they re-emerged much smaller and with a focus on commercial users. Blackberry's failure to adapt caused them to quickly drop to a 0.2% market share in early 2016, including the loss of Obama as a user.
Kodak & Blackberry's failure to adapt taught us all that as important as it is to stay true to your company's core values, evolution should be a habit. As your market evolves, be prepared to change with it or fail.
Related Article: Famous Entrepreneurs' Habits that you Should Start Following Today.
Embrace the New Opportunities as they Come
Before there was Google, Excite was doing really well! It was #2 in search traffic after Yahoo. And one day in 1999, an opportunity knocked on their door; they had a chance to buy Google, the new search engine, for $750,000 and beat Yahoo. What an opportunity!
A year later, a similar situation occurred for Blockbuster when Netflix, just two years after opening for business, decided to surrender to them.
Excite, and Blockbuster gave it a hard pass. Netflix was even laughed at and treated with arrogance by its competitor.
Excite was acquired by Ask.com in 2004 and today ranks 6th in search traffic compared to Yahoo at 4th and Google as King. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
Opportunity knocks but once, so think twice before saying no to a possibility. Customers will always choose what is best for them, no matter how big your business may be today. If your small competitor launches a better product today, your customers won't doubt trying it tomorrow.
Attend Leangap, learn the do's and don'ts of entrepreneurship in just one summer, and avoid going through these stuations without any guidance or knowledge. Evolution is necessary and the only way to run a consistently successful business. What about you? Do you think you've made the same mistakes?