Embracing Change

Warren Shoulberg is editor of HFN Magazine.  In an editorial called Going Out of Business, he writes about the changing furniture industry.  He could just as well have been writing about our industry.  He quotes Barbara Snow, CFO of Leath Furniture, a company that recently closed after being in business for over 100 years.  She said, "The company’s regretful decision comes as a result of unfavorable financial conditions, including the decline in the furniture industry."

As Shoulberg points out, "Last time I checked, people were still
pretty much sitting on sofas and chairs, sleeping on beds and eating at
least some of their meals on tables."  His point being, there has been no decline in the furniture industry, just a re-shuffling of the players. 

The point is that changing and declining are two entirely different things.  In fact, on an individual level, failing to change will almost certainly lead to decline.  As we pointed out here recently (Innovation), change is critical to survival in today’s business world.

Everyone likes to stay in their comfort zone.  There’s great security in sticking with what you know.  Ironically, staying in one place is really the enemy of security.  If we stay put, our competitors are going to move forward, leaving us behind.

Shoulberg points out that furniture retailers are lucky to have a basic product which will never become obsolete.  We can say the same thing.  There are always innovations in our products, but the basic item stays the same.  We’re not selling buggy whips, or eight-track tape players.  While we operate in mature industries, they’re not static industries.  There’s always going to be a market for what we sell and there are always going to be opportunities for good merchants to make a good living.

The important thing is that we embrace change for the opportunities that it presents, not fear it, or worse, pretend it isn’t happening.

2 Responses

  1. It is said in the rooms of recovery ( NA and AA ) ” Change or Die”. Seems to fit very well in all places.

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