Reaction Time

Pocket watch against a calendar concept for planning or scheduling

Every once in a while, it pays to step back and analyze what we are doing, especially with our businesses. What once worked as a business model doesn’t always keep working.

There are many examples around us. Look at newspapers. According to one source, in 1950 newspaper revenue in the United States was less than $20 billion a year. But by the year 2000, revenue had climbed to well over $60 billion (numbers adjusted for inflation).

What happened? In approximately 10 years, or 2010, those revenues plummeted to pre-1950s numbers. Many newspapers had a slow reaction time.

Those that kept their profits healthy are the ones who saw the future, embraced it and went digital.

We have other examples. Think of Blockbuster. At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster employed some 60,000 employees and ran more than 9,000 stores.

What happened? Startup companies reacted to what was happening. Ever hear of Redbox or Netflix? Blockbuster is, for the most part, gone. To be fair, it did put up some Redbox-type rental kiosks, and it did wade into the Netflix online streaming business model, but it was too late. Blockbuster’s reaction time was suicidal.

The important point here is this: What can we learn from profitable industries and/or companies that didn’t react in time and ended up in disaster?

Remember the rise and fall of industries and/or companies is consumer driven. How consumers purchase products and services dictates success.

In the past few months, I wrote about “The Uber Effect” and the possibility of our industry using technology that allows “instant” service. Some may scoff but that line of thinking destroyed others in the past.

I also included some information on how Amazon is entering the home services arena… and that Google is looking to get into the home services market as well. They will need companies like yours to service their customers.

If you are sticking with traditional marketing, such as obtaining quality referrals, you might want to step back and take another look at your approach.

At minimum, keep an eye on what is going on around you and react before it’s too late.

Jeff Cross

Jeff Cross is the ISSA media director, with publications that include Cleaning & Maintenance Management, ISSA Today, and Cleanfax magazines. He is the previous owner of a successful cleaning and restoration firm. He also works as a trainer and consultant for business owners, managers, and front-line technicians. He can be reached at [email protected].

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