Every business has a life cycle. I have seen the cycle broken down into four to seven stages. For my purposes today we are going to simplify this to four stages. The stages are;
Introduction or Start-up
Growth or Development
All businesses follow this cycle. When you hear a business owner say they are happy with their current sales and just want to maintain, they are already in decline. Maintaining the statuesque is not possible. When a business remains static their environment continues to move forward, leaving them behind, in decline.
Competition is always seeking to take your customers. Competitors in the Growth stage are striving to improve. They seek new ways to produce a better quality, less expensive product delivered to the customer at a faster rate. If your business is simply trying to maintain they will take your customers and you will decline.
Technology, machinery and materials are constantly improving. Companies that are in the Growth stage will take advantage of this. If your company is not, they will beat you in the market place and your company will decline.
In the Maturity stage companies begin to accept their processes and techniques as successful. They are at their peek and want to begin capitalizing on their investments over the years. They become emotionally tied to their processes they invented and don’t want to change. They begin to see record profits and are blinded to the fact that competitors have made them the target. At their peak, it is the beginning of the end.
In the past, this cycle took many years. Changes were slow and the cycles long. In today’s world, with rapidly changing technology, world wide economies and lightning fast communications shortened the cycle. Companies rise quickly to the top of their industry and then fade away in only a few short years.
If the cycle is short and inevitable for all companies, how do some companies prevail for years?
We are looking at every process and finding ways to improve. We are investing in equipment and materials to increase quality, reduce costs and lead times. We are enhancing and expanding our training program to equip our team with the best tools available. We are investing in software to help us manage the process and provide better communications. Ebsco is transitioning from the maturity stage back into the start up cycle. We are rigorously maintaining our core values and culture to insure our success.
So, as the competition establishes Ebsco as the target, we not only are moving the target, we’re changing the target completely. We are taking what the competition does well and setting it in our sites while maintaining our strengths.
We are not starting over on the cycle. We drug the entire cycle up to where we are, and are starting UP from there. The process takes time but it’s one hell of a ride. I hope you’ll join us on our ride.