New businesses start up every day, and, unfortunately, a large number of those start-ups will not be around in 20 years, 10years, or perhaps even next year. What are the characteristics of those that do stand the test of time?
This may seem obvious, but staying in business for the long run must actually be a part of your business plan. If you’re looking to jump into a market to take advantage of a fad and then get out, that’s okay. As long as you don’t enter into any long-term leases or other contracts, you may be able to make a decent amount of money and then move on. If you’re in it for the long haul, though, think about the long-term future of your business, and how you might achieve it, at the very beginning.
Trendy vs. Timeless
One way to ensure the long-term success of your business is to provide a product or service that literally never goes out of style. If you need a waiter’s vest or a tuxedo, you can be confident that a well-established wholesaler will have what you need. Even something as timeless as a tuxedo may undergo subtle changes in style over the years. The most successful suppliers will carry the most modern styles as well as the classics.
As a clothing retailer or wholesaler, you may prefer to go the other way, and offer only the latest fashions, catering to a younger clientele. This approach can also withstand the test of time, but only if you are able to keep up with, and even anticipate the latest trends. Many brands have built their success on always being out front with the newest styles, and such an approach can be sustainable for decades if done right.
A perfect example of an industry that knows how to walk the line between traditional and trendy is dance studios. Ballroom dancing has gone through times of great popularity, times when people thought of it as something only their parents did, and back again to great popularity. Studios like The Ballroom of Huntington in Long Island, NY never stop offering the traditional instruction that they have always been known for, but also make sure to have instructors who can teach the most popular current dance styles. Dance studios in the ‘70s took advantage of disco fever and taught the Hustle to the hordes of new students wanting to get in on the latest craze. The studios that are still around never quit teaching the Foxtrot and Waltz, knowing that disco would someday give way to something else.
Keep Up With Technology
No matter how timeless your product or service is, you must keep up with the way people shop if you are going to be around five or ten years from now. As the saying goes, “nothing is certain but death and taxes,” but even if you are in the tax preparation or funeral business, potential clients need to be able to find you. If you are still relying on print ads in the age of the internet, you will not last long. Everyone gets a haircut regularly, but if you offer a professional keratin application in NYC, you have to stand out among the competition. If you are the first to take advantage of YouTube, Instagram, and other social media to promote your studio, you can establish your brand – if you keep up with and employ new technologies, you will be able to keep your brand fresh and appeal to new customers.