Stand still at your peril!

The demise of Habitat this week is sad but not entirely surprising.

In my youth I loved Habitat. Habitat was the home of strong, highly functional design at a reasonable price. Habitat was a trendsetter. It was the place for every young (and a few not so young) homemaker. Habitat was an inspirational place to go, there was always something new and innovative.

Recently I have found myself in Habitat again and it has felt like stepping back in time. Much of the range was as it had been in the 70s and there was little evidence of new design or innovation. Habitat lost its way. Ikea became the new place for homemakers of every generation.

Habitat failed to adapt to competition. It lost its vision and its point of difference and it has suffered the consequences.

There is a lesson for all of us in business. We stand still at our peril. We must constantly monitor the competition and make sure our customers can see how we differ and why they should shop with us. We need to communicate our values and our value so our prospects understand what is important to us, how we are different and what they have to gain from buying from us. We need customers to keep coming back for more. We need to give them reasons why they should. It is vital that we understand what our customers want and find a way of delivering it profitably.

How has your business changed in the last five, 10, 30 years? Have you moved with the times and kept pace with your customers’ wants or is it time to take some exercise and move from the spot you have occupied for too long?

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