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When John Willard Marriot started his business with his wife Alice in 1927, they sold frosted mugs of root beer. It was summertime and hot in Washington, D.C. They added food, and for thirty years they ran a series of restaurants.
The Marriott’s didn’t open their first motel until 1957 when they reinvented their business.
The Twin Bridge Marriott Motor Hotel opened in Arlington, VA. And the world’s largest hotel company was born through reinvention. They saw an opportunity tied to the increase in public highways created by Eisenhower administration. Marriott wondered where people would sleep when they were far away from home.
If you are running a business, you need to be in continuous reinvention. You must always deliver value as your customer’s needs evolve and change.
Ask These Five Questions about the Reinvention of Your Business
- Where is the market going to be in a year or five? Are you stuck with a brand that is getting old quickly? Blockbuster was working perfectly until Netflix figured out how to instantly gratify the desire to watch a movie. Kodak was snapping along and invented digital photography but was too ingrained in the film business model to change their culture. They couldn’t stop thinking about film even though consumers were heading toward digital. The products and services you offer today should be focused on the needs in the coming years, not the past. Reinvention requires restructuring, reimagining and reinvigorating your company.
- How can you bring the core strengths of your product or service to customers in a reimagined way? Can you still be the same brand but a refreshed version? If taxi cab companies listened to customers complaints, they might have searched to improve their experience by reinventing themselves. Instead, Uber and Lyft did it for them and put many taxi companies out of business.
- What happens when you think of your product or service from the filter of business you admire? How can you “Uberize” or “AirBnB” what you are doing? Can you take a traditional restaurant and simplify the offering, so you are the Asian version of Chipotle? See Bibibop as an example. Maybe you are using a business model that no longer works for digital natives. Can a bank reimagine the way a consumer engages with them?
- Are you still stuck selling products when you customers need solutions? How could you reinvent your approach to business to go from where you are today to a future with greater opportunity? Products quickly become commodities. Solutions bring a greater value proposition to clients. Figuring out pain points that your customers have and work collaboratively to solve them is powerful. Don’t make products and find customers. Find problems and work with customers to solve those problems.
- Are you thinking like everyone else in your industry and part of the herd? Or, are you trying and testing little upstart ideas that seem crazy, weird and counterintuitive? If you aren’t experimenting and tweaking your business model, it is like a garden you forget to water. What have you failed at this week is a favorite question I love to ask clients. Time to push the envelope.
Imagine it is 1927 and the Marriott’s decided that they were only going to be selling root beer. Think of all the knocks on the doors they would have missed.
How are you reinventing your business for a fast-changing marketplace?
Need help reinventing and reimagining your business model? Want to avoid being caught in the Blockbuster/Kodak death spiral? Let’s talk. 919 720 0995. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Root_beer_in_glass_mug.jpg#file
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