Road to Reinvention

Learn why reinvention is crucial in staying ahead of the competition.

Often times, success gets compared to climbing a mountain. You begin at the bottom and then you start climb up slowly, all the way to the top. The trip may be quite difficult as you can fall, slip, or just have a lot of difficult with rocky paths. However, once your make it to the top and can relax and be happy about your success.

However, this analogy doesn’t make sense since success is not a simple one-time climb over some rocks. Instead, it’s a continuous and difficult journey to get to the top and then remain there. If you relax when you’ve made a bit of progress, there’s a big chance that you won’t remain as victorious for long.

The secret to greatness is to work very hard and continuously develop your company. This text will show you just how you can do so as well as the advantages of continuous reinvention.

You will also find out:

  • How come Borders booksellers had to put an end to their company
  • How come the guy that rides a Harley Davidson is most likely a lawyer
  • How one business made bank with his see-through pants

To be and stay successful, you have to reinvent yourself. If you don’t, you’ll become obsolete.

As soon as you’ve finished a difficult job, like completing a big project or closing a crucial deal, you most likely feel as if you deserve some kind of break.

That being said, in the world of business, that couldn’t be more risky.

Having continuous success requires you to be alert all the time. You can’t ever take a break as you constantly need to be ready to recreate yourself as your surroundings will continuously change.

It’s crucial to remain innovative when it comes to reinvention. Back in the 60s, Nike had turned into a household name after they had invented the modern athletic shoe. RIght after, however, Nike didn’t end up sitting around and waiting. On the contrary, the business kept trying harder, pushing boundaries, and putting money into new items.

Today’s examples include the company Fuel Brand, which is an LED-display wristband that is able to measure physical activity that way the wearer can accomplish their fitness goals, as well as Fly Knit Racer, which is a shoe that’s made out of knitted threads instead of the usual materials.

This type of out-of-the-box mentality caused the magazine, Fast Company, to make Nike the most innovative business in the world in 2013. Their success only backs this up as between 2006 and 2012, their revenue increased 60 percent.

It’s important to not that if you don’t interrupt the market with your own business reinvention, then some other business most definitely will.

At the top of its game, Borders, a bookselling chain, had boasted more than 1,200 stores and by 2009, their annual sales had gone up to $3 billion. However, only a couple of years later, the business had completely fallen. What ended up happening?

Borders Books struggled to see that the market was going through changes. They didn’t take advantage of the digitization of media through e-books, downloading, and streaming. Instead, they only paid attention to physical books, CDs, as well as DVDs, putting a lot of money into physical stores that the digital market was actually tearing apart.

As you can see, it’s important to reinvent yourself if you’d like your company to stay relevant. The next section will provide with information on where you should start the process of reinventing yourself.

Sometimes staying competitive means ruthlessly re-examining your core business.

The world never stops changing. The former vice president of Kodak, Don Strickland, even went on nicely to state that “shift happens”.

Businesses that aren’t able to see in what way the wind is going and that aren’t prepared to act against what they are actually interested in will most definitely start trailing behind.

Kodak, unfortunately, is an example of such. At its best, the business had about 90 percent of the film market and had even been the pioneer in digital photography technology, solidifying its market position.

In 1992, Strickland had stated that Kodak was prepared to launch its initial digital camera. Their company board, though, backed out as they argued, “Why develop digital cameras knowing that it would clearly undermine our core business of selling film?”

However, digital film was the future of film and Kodak, as a result, had been taken over by innovative competition- they barely made it out alive.

Kodak’s situation shows that although change isn’t easy, it is important in order to survive. That being said, by continuously redefining your business, change will end up being much simpler.

A really good place to begin your reinvention is to analyze your business from the eyes of your customers, just as the Hawaiian business SNUBA did.

When the American economy had gone down the drain during the end of the 80s, scuba-diving businesses had to deal with a very real issue: customers weren’t able to pay for such an expensive activity. SNUBA used the opportunity to their advantage by making a deep evaluation into its business practices from the perspective of a customer. From there they pinpointed the issue: in order to dive, they need too much money upfront before they could actually try diving.

Therefore, the business created a system that didn’t need any special training or certification. Here, the air tank remained on a surface, but it connected to a diver with a long hose. The SNUBA experience was similar to that of diving, however, it worked for beginners and it was much cheaper as well, therefore, it ended up being a huge success.

Redefining the “how” is just as important, if not more, as reinventing the “what” in your company.

Whenever a business is faced with a challenge, often times they end up making the assumption that the issue is in their items or services. Therefore, whenever the business makes changes, they do so by launching a new item line or some fancy offer.

Occasionally, when moving forward, you don’t need to think about what you’re doing but rather how it is that you’re doing it.

You don’t need to innovate products in order to succeed. Often times you need a slight change in how you either offer, sell, or market your items and services. Just that could be enough to bring your company back to life.

In the middle of the 90s, the founder of mortgage provider Quicken Loans, Dan Gilbert, had this idea to sell his mortgages online to those all over the states. Nowadays, purchasing items and services online is normal, but back then, his idea was revolutionary.

By just moving the documentation process online, Quicken Loans ended up completely reinventing the process of selling loans. The item itself stayed the same whereas by altering the how, Quicken was able to stomp all over its competition.

However, you can’t only reinvent yourself once. If you want to remain competitive, you need to create a system that lets you continuously reinvent yourself.

Quickent’s Gilbert had that same epiphany back in 2003. Similar to how a pilot can’t rebuild a plane while he is flying, those who are in charge of producing, selling, and delivering items and services shouldn’t be expected to reinvent business processes while doing their everyday jobs.

In addition, the skills needed for process optimization tend to differ from those for sales and marketing, for instance.

Therefore, Gilbert made what he deemed a “mousetrap team”. Their main objective was to question and innovate every single one of the business’s processes, regardless of how small they were.

Therefore, the business expanded quickly and by 2013, their revenue had gotten up to $100 billion. In addition, Quicken had earned a number of noteworthy awards for it’s great customer satisfaction.

Remember why you do what you do: for your customers.

When quickly trying to make innovative new items and services, a business may occasionally forget why they are initially making things: for their customers.

Indeed, based on the 2012 Customer Experience Index, only 37 percent of the brands that had been analyzed got good or great customer experience scores.

Do you fall into that 37 percent? What are you able to do to enhance your customer experience.

A great place to begin is by enhancing the customer’s sensory experience. By appealing to each of your customers’ senses, you are able to get them more excited about your items or services.

For instance, suppose you manage a karate studio. Attempt to put yourself in the shoes of your customer as they go into the studio. How does it smell, look, and feel inside?

Also, don’t forget to ask yourself creative questions. What would happen if you provided cool towels post each session or what if you played traditional Japanese music in the back? Are there any other ways that you could enhance your customers’ sensory experience?

You could also boost customer experience by making an emotional bond via stories that customers are able to relate to.

This is just what the athletic clothing company, Lululemon, did back in 2013; women all over the globe were frustrated that the material used for a major yoga clothing line was see-through, which was quite embarrassing especially when trying to do various yoga positions.

Instead of issuing a normal press release to apologize for the situation, on the contrary, the firm ended up trying to relate to the customers’ sense of humor by using that story.

All over the states in its store windows, mannequins were placed into yoga positions that had slogans like, “You saw London, You saw France. We promise no more see-through pants” and “We’ve got you covered.”

Their brand turned into “second-chance pants”, which were the new and enhanced line of yoga pants which was merely a continuation of the story that their customers had made. As a result, the succeeded in turning in issue into an opportunity to build a relationship with customers.

Changing your company culture can reinvigorate your company’s creative potential.

Every business has a unique culture. However, it typically gets so ingrained into the business that employees are no longer able to see it.

That being said, just as items and services, a business culture also has to continuously be reinvented. By looking at values, goals, and attitudes that mold the everyday life of your business from a different perspective, you are able to revamp everyone’s creative energy and assist you in reaching new success levels.

A good place to begin is by making sure that your business culture is empowering to your staff that way they take responsibility for what they due. This will cause an uproar in productive energy.

Take, for instance, the Indian tire company, Apollo Tyres. By 2005, they had turned into a prosperous and profitable business. However, business leaders wanted Apollo to go one more step forward.

It had occurred to the managing director, Neeraj Kanwar, that they had been lacking a common goal that was being shared across the whole business. Therefore, he provided his staff with a challenge: grow their revenue sevenfold. This meant they needed to reach $2 billion by 2010.

In order to accomplish this, the business would need to overthrow its culture. Therefore, Apollo encouraged his staff to make choices and take risks on their own that way they can try to reach their objective. As a result, Kanwar was able to bring out their teams energy resulting in them reaching their huge target!

By sharing company ritual with the staff, businesses can strengthen their core values.

Take, for instance, the cloud computing business Rockspace. Back in 2012, they made it onto Fortune magazine’s list of top-100 places to work. Their business’s shared core value titled “Fanatical Support”, revolves around fanatically enhancing expertise, responsiveness, as well as the transparency of the business.

The biggest award that a Rackspace staff member can get is the “Fanatical Jacket”, which is a straitjacket that symbolizes, thus reinforces, the main value of the business.

Based on the researcher and professor, Paolo Guenzi, rituals like those are able to boost staff productivity, create a shared identity, as well as reinforce desired behaviors.

Take a hard look at your customers. Is it time to reinvent who they are, or what they want?

The majority of business have a very good understanding of who their customers are. Some companies have even ended up being identified with what others deem their customer base.

Take, for instance, a Harley Davidson motorcycle. What kind of person do you typically see ride one?

For businesses that are trying to reinvent themselves, taking a look at customers from another perspective to work for new segments is a really good place to begin.

Between 1973 and 1983, their market share had gone down from 78 percent to 23 percent as cheaper Japanese motorcycles were going into the American market and in huge quantities.

Understanding that the business would never compete based on price, this American manufacturer needed to ask itself in what way would they be able to compete? The answer turned out to be quite easy: through emotion.

Harley had realized that a new type of customer had started to come about: rich bankers, lawyers, as well as doctors, were creating biker groups as they saw Harleys as a status symbol. In fact, they were giving themselves names like the “Rich Urban Riders” as well as “Rolex Riders”.

By taking advantage of that trend, Harley Davidson increased their prices instead of decreasing them.

In return, by 1990, 60 percent of their customer base was made up of college graduates as well as professionals all around the globe.

Another way that you could reinvent your customer base is by reevaluating the capacity of your customer segments.

If you’d like to create a successful company, it’s normal to strive to appeal to the widest customer base possible by creating an item that works for everyone. That being said, by narrowing it down to a specific customer segment can help you steer clear of competition.

GU Energy Labs, a California-based company, can help back this statement. Their GU Energy Gel is made only for endurance athletes like marathon runners and personal trainers. They play only a minor role in the big sports market and yet their business is incredibly successful and is actually the top in the market in their industry.

We’ve talked about how you are able to reinvent your company in order to propel it forward. Next, we’ll tell you how to reinvent yourself.