A few months back I predicted my favorite brick and mortar bookstore, Borders, would go under. Well this week my prediction became reality when Borders announced that despite its reorganization efforts, the chain will cease operation in the next few months. There’s a lot we can learn from the death of this once powerful chain to apply to our own lives…
1) Don’t ever assume you’ve arrived.
Part of Borders’ problem was their failure to embrace the wave of change that was seen a few years back but is now here in full force. Digital alternatives ultimately doomed the company. Their size didn’t matter. The fact that they have put other chains out of business with a model that was now out of date didn’t help them one iota when the wave of the past 36 months hit them.
Many people I know are content to sit on their laurels and use skills that they were taught in college in the 1980’s to hopefully sustain them. The reality is that’s not going to work. We need to constantly be looking at ways we can better ourselves. A personal growth plan is a must here. For ideas on how to put one together, see my series on this blog and get started now!
2) Plan for Change!
What works now probably will need to be tweaked in the next 24 months. Be on the lookout for change. Borders had ample time to change their model to increase eBook sales and digital music downloads. They could have offered a hybrid online/in store experience long before they did. Instead of being proactive they were reactive.
We do the same things in our lives. Many times we are content to just slide on by until we are forced to change and by that time, our options become severely limited. It’s better to be proactive and map out your future and take control of it rather than allow yourself to be tossed about in the wind of change. What skills are you learning now that will help you in 2013?
3) Take Chances!
The book store market has gotten boring quickly. Just 25 years ago, I remember being a Waldenbooks shopper. B. Dalton was another chain. Then there were the independent stores with their own special appeal. The problem with the demise of Borders (and possibly soon Barnes and Noble) lies with the fact that they never tried to set themselves apart from their competition and take chances.
If you are content in your life to just stay neck and neck with the crowd, you might survive but you might just die as a result of being one fish in a pond of millions. Take charge of your life and try to distance yourself from the pack by doing something different will make you stand out and potentially more valuable. Sure you might fail but then you can learn from it and try it again. If you are not willing to take a chance on yourself, you will never grow and will eventually die from stagnation. Find ways to reinvent yourself and learn new skills.
The key is to make the rest of your life the best of your life. Learn from the death of yet another chain and resolve to make changes this fall as the kids head back to school and we can set new goals for the coming new year.