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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett

Seven Survival Strategies for Maturing Companies

 

Dell's acquisition of EMC is the story of two mature companies hoping to do better in combination than either is now doing separately. Eventually, all companies mature, and growth slows or even declines. Besides merging with another company, what can small and medium size companies do to thrive even as they mature?

 

Signs that your company is in the mature stage include slow or slowing growth rates, a saturated market, and the loss of competitive advantage.

 

Ideally, mature companies continue to introduce innovative new products and services, for instance providing one-two day delivery for goods ordered online. Some companies hope to increase sales by slashing prices. JCPenney instituted a 40% across-the-board price cut in 2012, but the tactic was a failure. Dell and others hope to grow through acquisitions. Still others pursue new markets or new customers. Lego.com offers building kits for adults, such as LEGO Architecture Fallingwater (21005), a kit to build a replica of one of Frank Lloyd Wright's signature designs.

 

Survival Strategies

 

Just as cloud backup services have seized market share from EMC's growing storage business, new products and services could supplant your products and services. Here are some steps to take to ensure future growth.

 

  • Develop new offerings while selling existing products and services. When PC sales declined, Dell began selling servers. IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo and focused on providing services.
  • Budget for innovation and new product development. Encourage employees to work on their own exploratory projects. These efforts often lead to successful new products.
  • Encourage staff to suggest changes that will improve efficiency and drive costs down. Educate rigid managers and employees who insist, "This is how we have always done it...."
  • Observe changes in the market and the rise of new competitors. Then, react constructively to the changes.
  • Respond to changes in the regulatory environment. Growing fears about climate change will bring more regulations that will affect manufacturers.
  • Do not assume that new competitors will fail or that a competitor's novel product "will never catch on."
  • Keep up with new technology, and use it to advantage, e.g., colleges are offering online courses to reach more students and to keep up with their competitors.

Companies that grow as they mature keep up with changes in technology, changes in the marketplace, and especially changes in their own industries and market niches. They also create a company environment that encourages questioning and experimentation. We can help you track changes in your market and identify and evaluate new competitors. Business research for growing companies

Business research for growing companies

 

Copyright © 11/15 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

 

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