Change or Die: Why Every Business Needs to Evolve
Doesn’t every business need to evolve throughout its lifetime?
Most people don’t like it, but things always change over time.
Buying habits change, buying sources change, how products are delivered changes. These can be caused by inventions, natural disasters, but mostly by small improvements to existing models.
Our business is nearly 20 years old. We started out as a single retail shop selling refilled, compatible and OEM printer cartridges for the public.
It might seem strange today, but back then what we provided was new and fresh. It was easy to get affordable printer cartridges the same day, and we had a steady flow of customers. We even built a small empire, which resulted in four retail stores dotted about East Lancashire in North-West England.
Then our world imploded with three market-changing events:
- The 2008 financial crises
- Internet shops selling similar products
- Super supermarkets opening in town centres
It’s interesting when you look back. Although not technically a natural disaster, the financial crisis had a similar impact and made people much more careful with their cash.
The internet was invented years earlier but only gained traction once broadband speeds allowed slick online stores to be developed, which provided customers with a good purchasing experience.
Although the financial crisis and internet stores did have a negative impact upon our business, they weren’t the reason our retail stores suffered a continuous decline in revenues.
Local councils used to make supermarkets open in out-of-town retail parks, which protected independent stores in town centres. In Lancashire (England) this seemed to change around 2010 when massive supermarkets opened directly in or on the very edge of our town centres.
I dubbed them super supermarkets because they sold everything, and they decimated many town-centre independent shops, including our own.
In this instance, we lost out on convenience, which was a small, but significant change to the existing purchasing model. Customers still bought printer cartridges. But instead of having to make a special journey to our store within our trading hours, they could visit the super supermarket 24/7 and buy their printer cartridges while doing the weekly shop. Even though we provided better value, the price was not the deciding factor.
Convenience won the business.
During the following five years we tried everything:
- Offered 30-day trading accounts to organisations
- Carried out free same-day delivery to all customers
- Increased our product range with office supplies and stationery
Doing these things slowed the decline in revenues, but it was simply like putting a sticking plaster over a gaping wound, and it was only a matter of time before we’d lose the house and the business.
We needed to change and do something radical to transform the business and our fortunes.
With help from a guardian angel, we found a way forward, which required us to be brave and carry out a monumental (for us) business transformation project.
After analysing the market, we created a 10-year vision of what we needed to become. The vision required us to transform into an office technology company, which provided small organisations with all their office solutions in affordable monthly subscriptions, with no strings attached.
To do this it required us to close all our retail stores and open a single operations centre, from which we could service clients across North-West England.
With the aid of our team, stage one was to develop a range of print and scan solutions, which catered from homes, small offices, and larger organisations. Critically, these were available with no up-front payment, and customers only paid an affordable fixed monthly subscription.
Since that time, we have also developed an internet-based office phone system, and PC / laptops bundled with Office 365, which are also available in a fixed price monthly subscription.
Evolving is now part of our DNA and the pandemic has changed the landscape again. So, we’ve had to be agile and pivot to provide solutions for home workers too, which will now stay in our range.
It’s been an amazing journey to date, full of highs and lows, and there has been more than one occasion where I thought we weren’t going to make it. But, with the backing of a great team and a bucketful of grit and pig-headed perseverance, we’re here to tell the tale.
It’s been an emotional ride, during the first lockdown I left so strongly about our journey, I wanted to share it with others, so I wrote a book about it. ‘How a Greek Goddess Saved our Business’
Darren Turner’s imaging business success story began in 2003 when he opened a retail store in the UK selling printer supplies to home users & small organisations. Since then he has moved into a business unit, grown his team and continued to adapt to match his customers’ changing needs. He has developed a ‘fit for purpose’ office products and solutions business model that provides certainty of cost and service for small businesses, charities and schools—thus providing them complete peace of mind.
He has become a trusted advisor for small organisations across the world. Turner invites you to chat with him about your business, reaching out to him on LinkedIn, email or on the phone at +44-7887-548523. Especially on this topic: “Change or Die: Why Every Business Needs to Evolve”
Read his other posts and blogs:
- Change or Die: Why Every Business Needs to Evolve
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- Who Will We Sell To When the Machines Take Over?
- How the Rolling Stones Found their Satisfaction
- Shake Up Your World the Murakami Way
- Lead your Team like Genghis Khan: an 11-step guide
- Growing Your Business Like Post-war America
- The Matteo Ricci Strategy to Find Middle Ground
- Giving the Shirt Off Your Back for Quality Price and Ethics
- Good Business Needs Good Writers Too
- Butterflies Bumblebees and Shapeless Boxing
- The Martial Art of Fighting for your Business
- Walking the Plank with Pirates
- Resilience is Knowing When Not to Quit
- My View on the Future of the Print Technology Industry
- Planes Trains and Automobiles (and bicycles)
- Why Procrastinate Today When You Can Put it off Until Tomorrow
- Planting Trees as an Office Solution
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