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the-root-beer-stand 

When challenged with a new idea or doing things differently, have you ever uttered the phrase, “It’s the way we’ve always done it.” Yep, I have too. In this day and age it kinda makes me feel like my granddad. That was his pat answer. He was comfortable with the familiar and change might require time, energy and possibly $$. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?! Sure, keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll get more of the same results.

But what if you want different results?

A dear friend and colleague of mine always says, “If you want something different, you have to DO something different.” So, what to do? What results do you want? A wise business coach told me, “When the why is clear, the how to will appear.” Ultimately, the answer is adapt. 

The other day I ran across an interesting article about our nation’s first bookless public library. I have to admit, being a book lover, I felt a little sad when reading about this computer based facility. But, on the flip side, I totally admire the creativity. This doesn’t mean books are going away. They are just changing and perhaps disappearing in the formats with which we’re familiar. A book is really about content, and content doesn’t have to exist on the printed page in a binding. Yet while other libraries, bookstores and newspapers are all fighting change, this particular library is embracing change and making the necessary adjustments in order to stay relevant and alive. On the local level so many public library systems are talking about removing some very valuable services, including access to online databases, because of the cost.

Big mistake and the opposite of adapting—cutting some of the more important, relevant services, all in the name of maintaining their traditional business model: books. I’m not suggesting physical books aren’t important, but libraries, like newspapers and other traditional media outlets must adapt. The way they’ve always done it doesn’t work anymore.

The best businesses are the ones that adapt. Did you know that Taco Bell started as a hot dog stand, Marriott was a root beer stand, and Nintendo was a playing card company?

These and many other companies started with one focus. You know I’m a fan of differentiating. Of doing one thing so well that nobody does it better. Clearly though, Marriott decided to fulfill a need, adapt, and shift their focus from feeding people to putting them up for the night. Still a form of hospitality, just a different focus. Ultimately, a great shift!

Take a good, long, hard look at your business. Are you making it easier for customers to buy? How could you adapt and serve them better? 

Root beer float, anyone?!

AllisonDeFord(image courtesy of Trip Advisor)

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