Will You Be The Next Blockbuster, Borders, CDs or Mail?

Perhaps you saw the July 4th issue Fortune magazine article about how digital companies are so big and growing so fast, that they are obliterating old brick-and-mortar businesses.  Fortune reported that:
  • The U.S Postal Service is on track to lose $6 billion this year.  Cellphone text messages sent are up 1,200,243% from 2000.
  • Netflix sales are up 43,101% from 1999 versus Blockbuster's drop of 29% in sales during the same period.
  • Amazon has almost single-handedly bankrupted Borders.
  • iTunes debuted in 2003 and Tower Records closed in 2004 and Musicland folded in 2006.  FYE is shriveling.
And the Wall Street Journal recently reported that sales of greeting cards have fallen 9% since 2005 amid the rise of social media and email.

What is the digital company or the new technology that will force you to change your business model?  Or expand, or morph?  Or, worse...that will cause you to close your doors?

As the leader in your business, are you listening to your sales force who hears everyday about the competition and what your customers want and your prospects need?

Are you spending ample time with your lower and mid-level employees who are interacting with your vendors, customers and co-workers and likely have ideas for you that typically don't gain your ear?

Are you engaging with your tech-savvy Generation Y employees who life and breath the digital landscape?

Do you diligently set aside time each day or week to read your industry's trade journals and Blogs, and do you attend industry trade shows?

Perhaps it won't be digital technology that will change or crush your business model.   Instead, it might be the fact that more than 10,000 Baby Boomers, since January 1st of this year, will reach the age of 65. And, that pace is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.

Will that aging population change your business in terms of how you deliver customer service online and in-person, or the way you deliver your product, or the way you create or manufacture your product. 

Are you holding focus groups with Baby Boomers to learn how best to serve them in the future, particularly when you consider they may be more technically inclined than you think?  For example, according to Pew Research Center:
  • 69% of people ages 54 to 64 now buy products online.
  • 93% of that age group send/read email.
  • 54 to 64 year-olds spend more time online than do people between the ages of 12 to 34.
Bottom line?  Are you spending enough time with your management team, your employees and your customers and at industry events so you don't become the next Blockbuster, Borders, CDs or Mail?


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