Are You Suffering from Border-Itis?
I cannot help but use the Border’s recent bankruptcy to highlight a continuing mentality in the corporate and even small business world. Yesterday I was reading in my major news announcements the story of Border’s demise which has been almost entirely attributed to their “cluelessness” about the importance of a strong Online Presence. Yet when I visit Chamber of Commerce events, BNI group meetings, and speak to many business owners its bewildering how many business owners and managers also have “Border-itis” .
See if this mirrors your own behavior:
Fifteen years ago, Borders superstores dotted the U.S. and seemed to be the future of bookselling. Its sprawling stores, comfortable chairs, cafe and widespread discounts epitomized the “bigger is better” retail philosophy that spelled the end of many mom-and-pop bookstores that couldn’t compete on selection or price. It seems Borders executives got way to comfortable in those cushy chairs, never taking the online revolution seriously.
In 1995 Amazon was launched. It was not long before it became evident that the book retail industry was in the early stages of a major revolution and book buying was making a major transition to the online space. Two years later Barnes & Noble management had the intuition to see that a strong online presence was no longer an option but an absolute necessity to their survival and any chance of competing with Amazon 5 or 10 years down the road.
Unfortunately Borders didn’t have the same talent running the ship. It was not until 2001 that Borders even dipped their toes in the online arena. But, even then they made a fatal decision. Instead of developing their own online empire they contracted with Amazon to run their ecommerce business. The problem was Amazon was never that motivated to sell books for Borders.
And, incredulously, they continued that “dead” relationship with Amazon until 2007, when they finally launched their own ecommerce site. Unfortunately way beyond too late and ten Years AFTER their #1 competitor Barnes and Noble.
Where are you with your online business? Does at least HALF of your revenue come from your online assets? Or are you suffering from Border-it is?
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