Everything can change tomorrow – Can you adapt?

John Nese’s business was going broke.  His family-owned grocery store was being eaten alive by big chain stores.  So, when a woman called looking for a unique mint soda, he saw an opportunity.  Today John’s store, Galco, sells every imaginable kind of soda from around the world.  Business is good.

John Nese was able to adapt, here are other examples:  

  • In 1984 IBM was the undisputed king of the computing world with its iconic PC.  As we all know, “PC clones” soon flooded the market.  IBM was large and slow to innovate.  In 1993, the company posted the biggest loss in the history of corporate America – $8 billion.IBM decided its new focus would be providing IT expertise and computing services to businesses.  They invested heavily in this niche and by 2013 were the #1 seller of enterprise server solutions in the world. [Source: IDC]

    •Shell Oil started out as Samuels, importing antiques and collectibles specializing in decorative “shells” from the Far East.  Their ships left London stocked with machinery and tools, returning with rice, silk and copperware.  They built the first bulk oil tanker to navigate the Suez Canal bringing efficiency to oil delivery in Europe.  They renamed their shipping business Shell Transport & Trading Company.

    •Nokia started as a paper mill that morphed into manufacturing rubber tires and galoshes.  Their next transition was between 1998 and 2012 when the company sold more cell phones than any other company in the world.  (Might be time for another reinvention.)

    •Western Union started out sending telegrams.  Today they are the world’s largest money transfer company.
    The list of companies who adapted and transformed themselves goes on: Berkshire Hathaway, Nintendo, National Geographic Society, American Express, Apple…

Every day we have to start prepared to handle whatever might happen.  It’s essential to be flexible and adaptable, to be on the lookout for innovations and opportunities; to seek new and outside-the-box solutions when challenges overwhelm.  Be open, practice adaptability.

To hear the NPR Marketplace podcast about John Nese and Galco, click here.

The road is easier together,
Linda

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