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A blog post

How to Go Out of Business

Posted on the 26 February, 2012 at 10:11 am Written by in All, Business Strategy


Last month Larry Downes, a contributor to Forbes, started a firestorm of sorts by writing an excellent article on Best Buy and how the company is s-l-o-w-l-y going out of business. The article generated a great deal of attention not the least from the company’s CEO as well as a public who was falling out of love with the big box electronics store that — at least in the past — had offered quality electronics and appliances for a reasonable cost, supported by knowledgeable salespeople.

To us, not only staying in business, but growing your business comes down to doing two difficult things, and doing them well.

The first, of course, is to listen, truly listen, to what your audience is saying. What problems are they trying to solve? How can your organization profitably help them? How will solving those problems improve their business? How can the difference your company offers be significant enough to get someone to change what they’re doing today?

You might believe that the second step is to envision a solution that is truly useful and reflects the core capabilities of your company. And it is. However, it’s more likely the real challenge will be coming up with ways to persuade your organization to set aside the barriers to delivering that ideal solution.

You’d expect that success here requires presenting a solid business case and good salesmanship.  But consider using well-executed research to augment that hard work by bringing the customer “into the room” or by introducing detailed examples of how your ideas have worked in other arenas. This type of “evidence” can help support what may be a new-to-your-company business model and help your colleagues let go of accepted wisdom and “the way we’ve always done things.”