“Sometimes you have to destroy your business in order to save it.”

And that is something Blockbuster was unable to do. Blockbuster’s huge investment in traditional stores made it slow to recognize the Internet’s (Netflix)  importance. In 2002, it was still calling the Net a “niche” market. It was late on everything–on-line rentals….Redbox-style kiosks…. streaming video.

While NetFlix was the downfall of Blockbuster….what will come along next to surpass NetFlix?

The real question for any business/organization is: Can it recognize when it’s business model is no longer viable and destroy it to save it.

It takes some hard thinking to get to that point. Many businesses are unable to do that….and eventually become another Blockbuster.


DeFeet International

Business North Carolina selected DeFeet as the small business of the year

DeFeet makes cycling socks in Hildebran, NC with 2011 revenues of ~ $4.5 million. Here are key points from the Business North Carolina article:

  • “We understand our market because we live the same way our target customers do”.
  • Product is not outsourced – “We can stop a machine today to make a product change tomorrow.”
  • “We are not a $10 million company, but I would have our eyes set on that within the next few years.”
  • Defeet has embraced the latest marketing trend–social media
  • “Punk (?) marketing and guerilla marketing give us the advantage now because our customers love to tell our stories”.
  • “Just because you can create doesn’t mean you can manage.”

Like any good business it is not just one segment of the business –

It’s all segments working together….product….customers….marketing….leadership/management.

Time is Money

Or is it?

Undercover Boss(UB) – The Dwyer Group, Waco, TX. Dwyer owns several service franchise businesses. The UC boss was Dina Dwyer-Owens, the daughter of the founder. I have never heard of any of the franchises….a quick search revealed some in the Raleigh area and some in other parts of the country (with less than favorable reviews).  As with other UB episodes….many unanswred questions….at least this UB was 100% more likeable than last weeks UB.

What caught my attention was a statement by one of the franchisees that Time is Money. The segment was installing some electrical outlets….and not cleaning up after the installation. The UB showed dissatisfaction not only with the owner not taking the time to clean up….and also that he apparently didn’t comply with the Dwyer standards (Why was he even a franchisee?)

Certainly time is money….yet money is in the details. In this case taking a few seconds to clean up….means attention to detail and repeat business. 

Technology Change

New Cell Phone

Our first mobile phone was a Motorola….weighing almost two pounds. It was like a walkie-talkie from WW ll. Yet it served its purpose….the lastest technology in 1993.



Now almost 20 years later after several versions of phones….we have a new one. The Samsung weighs ounces….fits in a pocket….and is about 1/20th the size of the Motorola.

The Samsung is not a smart phone….it’s a rather simple phone….its all we need.

The real story is that technology rapidly changes….businesses change. That’s the world that we live in.

Undercover Boss

Diamond Resorts International

The past season’s portrayed mostly well-known companies….it seems like Undercover Boss (UB) Season 3 is moving down the ladder….to lesser known businesses.

This episode showed much of what is wrong with this UB:

  • He certainly didn’t look like he portrayed the image of the company
  • He was flamboyant in his lifestyle…. far different than other UB’s
  • He failed to define the culture of the company
  • He gave out extremely generous rewards….what does that say to other employees?
  • He didn’t explain how the business would be better
  • He provided no reason to be a guest at Diamond Resort properties

There are great businesses….and good businesses….and mediocre businesses. Diamond Resorts International and its CEO seemed to fall in the last category.

The End

Lights Out at the Harbor Theater

Our neighbors owned The Harbor Theater in Lakeside (70’s -80’s). Lakeside is a section of Muskegon along Muskegon Lake….and a two block commercial area. We enjoyed many movie nights at The Harbor.

The Harbor Theater was a small two screen venue showing movies after they played in the big theaters….and only for a couple of dollars. Of course this was before DVD’s and Netflix. Times have changed and it is difficult to operate these types of theaters….especially in smaller towns.

A recent story on the closing of The Harbor Theater:

Businesses/organizations have life cycles….some longer than others. In the case of The Harbor….technolgy and the market changed. It was time for lights out.

Stand Out

“I rather die of bad marketing than a bad product! “

What makes a great business….is it marketing….product….service? Tom Peters says it’s product. I do to. Marketing can’t sell a bad product or provide superior service.

The bottom line is that product or service is what businesses/organizations stand out from the crowd. Business growth is going to take place when a company has a better/different product and provides outstanding service.

What made our business stand out….was our service. Always going the extra mile….making a repair….delivery when the customer wanted delivery….even at night or 400 miles to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.