Darwin said: “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.”
The same applies in business. I learned to adapt the hard way.
While still in college, I launched a pager business. In time, it grew into a multi-million-dollar company. I knew in my gut that although pagers were all the hype, a new technology would inevitably take its place.
I didn’t listen to my gut.
Instead I obstinately defended the pager business and its relevance because I linked my success directly to it.
Because of my inability to embrace new technology head on, I lost a lot of money and my business nearly perished.
Eventually and fortunately, I did make the change to mobile phones. But because I adapted slowly, I was forced to start my mobile business nearly from scratch. It was then that I promised myself I would never again ignore threats, or my instinct, in business.
Threats exist in every industry and in every business. For every checkbook there’s a debit card for every telegraph there’s an email and for every pager there’s a cell phone. Business leaders need to recognize, discuss, debate and plan for these threats to mitigate them.
This may be more important now than ever because our technological world enables the quick transfer of information and ideas, which initiates change. If consumers’ wants and needs are changing quicker than your business structure can address, you’re in trouble.
Learn from my mistakes and incorporate these five routines in your business practices so you don’t become the next dinosaur.
Like many of life’s difficult lessons, I’m better for having experienced my defining business lesson early on. It has undoubtedly shaped my personal evolution as well.
*Originally published in The Tennessean.
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwatography/5778191863/”>Kyle Watson Photography</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>