This post comes to you with a heavy heart 8=(
I dropped in to my local post office today to check for mail and while there I happened to glance up and notice that the old video store across the road had closed down.
I wandered across road after checking for mail (none again - how unusual!!!) and I stood out front of the old video store for about 5 minutes, gazing in through the front window, looking at the dismantled shelves strewn all over the floor and reflecting back on the times - and dollars - that I had spent in there.
Remember when video stores first opened?
You'd be there with the kids every weekend looking for the latest release and you almost always had to put your name down on a waiting list for the latest new releases because they were booked out weeks in advance.
Then the videos started to get replaced by DVD's (and later Blu Ray's - I never quite got those, but that's another story!!!) where the sound and quality of the picture just kept getting better and better and watching a movie at home was just like going to the movies (and best of all, you could pause the movie whenever you wanted to for rest room and snack breaks!!! LOL).
Then something strange happened - all of a sudden we started going to the video store less and less.
It wasn't like we'd stopped watching TV - it was just that now we had things like YouTube and things like Netflix and there were less and less reasons to rent DVD's.
Did you also notice that our spending habits also changed whenever we went to the DVD store?
Now - instead of going there to rent an overnight new release - we could buy ex-rental new releases at pennies on the dollar because the video store had started selling all their excess stock.
Slowly, but surely, our need to visit the video store became less and less important until - finally - the old video store took it's last gasping breathe because it was no longer relevant.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Have you - as a small business owner - noticed a slow decline in your customer base and are you sitting there thinking to yourself "What's happening here?".
Well - if you are - step back from your business for a moment and think about how relevant it is today compared to when you first opened up your business all those years ago.
Ask yourself the following questions -
"Are my products as necessary now as they were when I first started my business?"
"Is it as easy for customers to access my products as it was when I first started selling them?"
"What has changed in my market from when I first started my business?"
I am posing these questions to you for one very simple reason - your product or service may very well still be required by your target market, however, evolution has dictated that there needs to be a change in the way you provide your product and service and you may not be changing your processes to meet this evolution of change.
After reflecting on the questions posed above for a while, now ask yourself the following questions -
"How can I make it easier for customers to access my products?"
"How can I identify the exact demographic that still needs my product?"
"Where is this demographic "hanging out"?"
"What's the best way to let them know about my product now that I know where they're "hanging out"?"
It's the answers to these kinds of questions that will determine whether or not your business can evolve to it's next level of success, or if you have old customers standing in front of your empty store reflecting on the good times that were once had there.