Knowing Your Market: The Biggest Business Blunders

You could turn your industry upside down ...


Borders was once a single store based in Michigan that grew quickly and expanded across the world. It was the most successful bookstore for years, until it failed to adapt to the digital age and to consumer preferences ...

Knowing your market and adapting to change can help you to succeed!

Knowing your market and adapting to change can help you to succeed!

copyright: ismagilov / 123rf stock photo (licensee)

Borders profits fell, as it became more convenient (and much cheaper) for customers to order books online via platforms such as Amazon. Furthermore, with the introduction of portable reading devices such as the Kindle, Borders were unable to match the instant gratification that downloadable books could offer.

"Similarly, Blockbuster Video suffered when services such as LoveFilm and Netflix were first introduced!"

Similar to what had happened to the bookstores, films that could be delivered to your home were simply too much competition for the video store. This was closely followed by services that allowed you to choose from 100s of TV programmes and films from your laptop or tablet and have them instantly available to watch.

The Blackberry crisis is another great example. While Blackberry didn't have the best reputation for reliability, it was once the favoured device for business use, particularly accessing emails on the go. However, Apple researched their target market, produced the technology to provide it and the brand to sell it. They grew rapidly, taking many of Blackberry's customers in the process and are still a dominant presence in the market.

Abercrombie & Fitch are worth talking about because they didn't fall prey to a competitor and technology isn't directly involved. This one's almost all branding. In one year, their stock price decreased by approximately $70.

They went from being one of the most loved brands in the US to one of the most hated. Through the careful cultivation of the brand, Abercrombie & Fitch clothing was something many aspired to wear. However, after some undoubtedly questionable behaviour was highlighted – largely via social media – customers turned on the brand they had once embraced. The CEO had to step down, and the company is working hard to turn their image around.

Whether your business is product or service based tracking trends in your industry is crucial. If you're not operating with up-to-date information, and some of your competitors are, then you may be caught out.

There are many reasons that businesses fail – cash flow, mismanagement or simply a lack of demand for what they sell – and businesses are closing every day. However, by choosing to be proactive, keeping up with industry trends and constantly researching our market, we can all have a much higher chance of survival!

So knowing your market and adapting to change can help you to succeed. And you never know, you might lead the next big change that will completely turn your industry upside down!

Until next time ...



More about Jacqui Frost ...


I had a successful 20-year career as an office manager and personal assistant; however, my job was no longer focused on the customers and became all about the numbers. My customer-focused background began when I was 12 in my father's independent carpet showroom. I had a spell with Marks & Spencer before I moved into office-based jobs. I have worked as a training administrator, a PA and PA/office manager in a variety of industries from manufacturing to the IT education sector.

Meanwhile, my husband Ian, a successful Northampton based Master Decorator and owner of Rainbow Frost, was losing out on work due to missed phone calls. When he was busy, callers were getting his voicemail but weren't leaving messages. I knew how to fix that problem!

I quit my job and took on Ian as the first client of The Office Genie in November 2005. Word quickly spread with the second client coming on board just one week later. The majority of our clients since have come to us through word of mouth recommendations and networking referrals. Over the years, I have become well connected in Northampton and Milton Keynes.

Outside of work I enjoy swimming, roller skating, the theatre and my cats and dogs!


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