Do you know why Kodak and Nokia failed?
Kodak was founded in the late 1880s and became a giant in the photography industry in the 1970s. It was the Google of film and cameras. However, it was struggling by the early 2000s as the market embraced digital cameras and shunned traditional photo film.
Steven Sasson, an engineer at Kodak invented the first ever digital camera in 1975, but the company never pursued the possibilities of this new technology. The management’s lack of vision was the key reason for the company’s failure and decline.
Although Kodak acquired Ofoto in 2001, a photo sharing website to enhance digital photo printing experience, it failed to realise that customers were moving onto photo sharing via social networks. After almost a hundred years, Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
Image via Dave Granlund
Nokia, once the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones, fell from grace as it was very slow to adopt prevailing trends like the touch screen, sending of emails and the importance of software development.
Further, Nokia lost market share due to the emergence of the Android system which was accepted by brands like Samsung, Sony and HTC.
By 2009, Nokia incurred its first loss in a decade and cut more than a thousand jobs worldwide. In the end, Nokia sold its mobile device unit to Microsoft in 2014 for $7.2 billion.
So, what can you learn from their failure?
These two companies have a common problem. They failed to keep up with the fast-changing global business environment and adapt to the rapid evolution of consumer behaviours.
Their inability to understand current consumer behaviours has meant that traditional businesses are facing stiff competition with businesses born in the digital era.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, it is impossible to control external factors such as technological changes and consumer needs. However, knowing how to adapt to these changes so that the company and business can survive and grow is a challenge most companies are struggling to learn.
Someone said “If it’s raining outside, that’s not the problem as you don’t control the rain. If you don’t have an umbrella to stay dry when it rains, that’s the real problem.”
Help Your Team Adapt To Change
Employees are the most valuable asset to any organisation.
Companies can last if they have a group of people who can work together to identify and address problems swiftly.
Great bosses realise that they can’t achieve their goals if their people aren’t performing at their very best. So, demonstrate genuine concern to your employees. Talk openly and regularly about what you know and encourage input, so that they can keep up with the changing trends.
Encourage the employees to take initiative and seek out solutions, new ideas, or cost savings could be another good way to lead them to move ahead with changes. As a group, come up with creative solutions to the new challenges created by change.
Besides, employee training is critical. Give them an opportunity to learn new skills and new techniques, so that they can prepare for change. Training can help them transition more easily into new roles, or improve their skills.
As a result, all these steps can help them cope better with change.
Track Your Market Needs
An organisation could be very successful and make a lot of money, but no one knows it will sustain or not. Customers’ needs and behaviours can change rapidly.
There are a few things you can do and implement it constantly. Firstly, get market feedback.
There are a lot of platforms you can use to conduct a market survey. You can do this with your customers through engagement emails, posting your survey form on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.
After analysing the survey results, you should generate a business model hypothesis about how you might change your strategies, such as product features, target customer, pricing and distribution channels.
Then, you can always adapt and make changes later. Add more features that customers want and take away ones they hate. Remember, always be looking for ways to improve.
Understand Your Competitors
Whether you want to admit it or not, competitors are out there and they’re hungry for your customers. So, you need to understand your competitors well.
Monitor your competitors on an on-going basis so that you can start to anticipate what they will be likely to do next. For example, what new products is your fastest growing competitor working on? What are their sales and marketing approach?
You can do this through your value network which is your suppliers and the end customer. You can gain valuable insights from them and finding which companies are growing fastest and why.
Besides, you can begin with a simple Google search or visiting your competitor’s website. You can also tap to their social networks, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, as it can be an easy, cost-effective way to know about the public’s sentiment about your competitors.
Attending industry trade shows and conferences, as well as joining industry associations can be a great way to learn about who your competitors are and what they’re offering.
Remember, don’t wait for things to happen. Plan for it. You’ll always one step ahead of the competition and adapt to the fast-changing business environment.