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Innovation & Change are the Lifelines to Business Success

At a lunch with Joe Gilbert and my father, I can remember Joe saying that his retail offering had to change every five or so years otherwise the strategy and product would become stale in the consumers’ eyes.  He changed the design of the Plaza III in Kansas City which often included not only the menu but the physical look and menu.  He continually tried new concepts some of which included buying his next-door neighbor on the Plaza in Kansas City and changing the concept and name of Tom Houlihan Clothier to a restaurant called Houlihan Restaurant & Bar.

I watched my father determined to make a drastic change of converting “Frisco Jewelry Store” to “Dolgin’s”, a catalog showroom and  totally new retail concept.  As this concept took off, seven years later he determined that staying in a dying shopping location of downtown Kansas City would have been the end of his vision so he moved to North Kansas City.  To some, this was one of the riskiest strategic moves by my father, yet it was the smartest decision in the history of the family owned business.  He moved when all his advisors, investors, and mentors were against it.  My father must have insights like Harvey Mackay, who said that, “innovation and change are central to every organization’s growth and success.”
Recently in WSJ Magazine, the feature article was about Thomas Keller, owner of the famous restaurant, “The French Laundry”, and the $10 million total rebuild of his restaurant in Yountville, CA.  He said that restaurants cannot survive on lore, they must be dynamic in their survival.  This principle applies not to just restaurants, but all businesses.  Manufacturers, distributors, service oriented companies, and retailers must continually re-invent themselves with new products and services.

The successful continue to abide by this strategy as demonstrated by another locally owned company, “Yogurt Lab.”  The announcement was made that the strategy was not working and they made a huge change to convert several of their stores to sushi bars.

To be successful, a business person needs to consistently follow their passion and vision.  Their business must continue to change and upgrade their product offering and services.  A business which experiences flat or down revenues is not the business you want.  We all live in our own bubble.  Consequently, we may not be able to see what needs to change in our business in order for our business to be successful.  In order to change direction, you may need another set of eyes, eyes outside our bubble, to help in the analysis of your business and setting your business on the right course to be successful.

Elanstrategic can help you to determine the correct direction and we may see another business person similar to David Dolginow, Joe Gilbert or Thomas Keller.  Contact yale@elanstrategic.com or 952-960-6688.
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