I recently came across a situation that made me really appreciate the merit of well designed products.† My wife was having some trouble with her Blackberry phone and being the technical person in the house, it was my job to fix it.† What a disaster. I was shocked. I'm not going to write what I felt like doing to that phone but let me tell you, it wasn't pretty! Was this the mighty Blackberry that had reshaped the mobile phone market and become the standard in the business world? How could this be?
Most people will agree that good design is essential for any product or service to do well in the marketplace.† But is good design enough? In the case of Research In Motion (RIM), their market success began when they released the Blackberry, a new and exciting "smartphone" back in 2003.† Compared to the competition, the device was almost magical making it the one all other phones would be compared to. Fast-forward 9 years later and not only did the competition catch up, they left poor 'ol RIM in the dust and their entire business in jeopardy. So what happened?
Well, some might say that RIM forgot to innovate.† They found success and likely rested on their laurels. In the fast-paced world of technology, the laggards are quickly left behind. Perhaps your industry doesn't move quite so fast but rest assured, in business: innovation is inevitable. So what can be learned from the Blackberry story and how does this apply to your business or organization?
Your Goods and Services
If you sell products, are selling them over the web? Can customers easily send you electronic payments for your services? It's probably not necessary to completely reinvent your business. Just be sure you're not stuck in a rut while your competitors are zooming past you. The world is moving to the web, will they find you?
Do you still have a Yellow Page ad? If so, you should probably be reconsidering where you're spending your hard-earned advertising dollars. The use of phone books and print ads is quickly declining. Services like Google Places and mobile applications have become today's standard for finding local businesses and service providers. Are they finding you?
Something as simple as the ability to pay online can make or break a customer relationship. If your business does not accept electronic payments, you are creating a blockade for new and returning business. Customers want choices. If doing business with your company is inconvenient in any way, you can be sure your customers will be on the lookout for a replacement. Don't alienate your customers. Cater to them and give them reason to come back again and again!
In the end, business will be business. Contrary to popular belief, the web has not changed the fundamentals of how business works. It has however created some new and interesting ways of finding new customers and retaining existing business. Are you getting the feeling that you might be falling behind? Are your competitors passing you by while you rest on your laurels? If you don't keep up, before you know it your competitors will be eating your lunch!† Don't be a Blackberry!