Typically companies that find themselves in the position to enjoy a monopoly are pretty happy. However, as what often happens in a monopoly the company gets fat, happy and complacent. I’ve been privileged to observe this first hand in the past few months. It’s amazing and amusing at the same time. While the companies in question may not be true monopolies in the textbook sense they do enjoy huge market share in relation to their competition.
Why am I writing about Monopolies?
As I continue to look for my next challenge (aka job) I have connected with numerous companies across the high tech spectrum. As I have blogged and tweeted about before I have been pleasantly surprised and happy to see that there are enlightened companies that continue to look for people with an eye towards growing their business.
However, I have been amazed by a few that don’t seem to be willing or able to put forth the effort to move beyond their monopoly malaise. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. Remember Standard Oil and AT&T? They didn’t take any action until they were forcibly broken up.
I’m not an economist and I don’t play one on television. However, as a business development guy I do know that the measure of success for every business I have worked with is revenue and ultimately a profit. Yes, I know there are community and psychic factors to consider, but every business I have ever worked with needs cash to continue operations.
Contrary to what I mentioned above it DOES amaze me that a company that has a monopoly in a declining industry is not doing everything they can to continue growing and expanding their business.
Actually, at this point it’s more amusing than amazing. I expect a fire sale or worse in the not too distant future. Note: I am not referring to a government entity or a financial services firm. So, they do in fact need to generate cash flow and should not be expecting a few billion in TARP bailout funds.
The irony is that they have the tiger by the tail. Yet sadly, it is clear they don't know what to do next. It's sad to see and even sadder to watch unfold in near real-time. They will have their head handed to them before they even realize what happened. By then it will be too late.
What should they do?
There is so much they could do. From the simple market expansion efforts that could easily add new market segments with no changes in the products to the more complex challenges of tweaking/building new product sets and shifting compensation models to achieve new objectives. At the end of the day people do what they get paid to do. This works well for partners too – when partners can generate revenue in a predictable and repeatable manner they will jump in and help to change the market with you.
Have you seen this type of behavior in your career? What happened to the company in question? Are they still in business? Is there business significantly different now – as compared to what it could have been if they focused on growth?
Have companies you have worked with or otherwise observed acted in such a cavalier way that they let their business falter before they realized what was happening. Please drop me a line here as a comment of contact me via Twitter, e-mail or Facebook.
|About The Author: |
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.
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