By Giselle Aguiar,  AZ Social Media Wiz, Founder

It’s sad to see businesses that you’ve known for so long die. The recent news that Sports Authority is closing all 450 of their stores hits home to every business owner no matter what size business you own. Sports Authority was a start-up once.

What did they do wrong? What did they not do that their competitors, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Big 5 and REI did or are doing? Why are they doing well and Sports Authority is liquidating.

“Their resilience is due to distinct business strategies: for Dick’s, a massive national footprint with a wide range of merchandise and niche products such as firearms; for Big 5, smaller footprint stores with a more limited assortment, but at lower prices; and for REI, a steadfast focus on customer experience.” LA Times, “When Sports Authority closes, these retailers win

What stands out?

  • wide range of merchandise
  • niche products
  • smaller footprint
  • limited assortment
  • lower prices
  • focus on customer experience

Here’s a video “Top 10 Brands that Failed” – and we know them all…. Listen carefully to the reasons why each went under.

No company is to big to fail. True, there sometimes are many factors that contribute to a company’s failure. Everything from the economy, the weather and the Internet have been blamed.

Circuit City is one that blew me away. The video states that their failures were:

  • inconvenient locations
  • bad customer service
  • not targeting gamers

That last one has to do with changing times. Not adapting to technological and generational changes are the downfall of many companies.

Are you keeping up? Have you been resisting change?

Besides keeping up with the times, you need to keep up with your competition. That’s what happened to Woolworth’s. I grew up across the street form a Woolworth’s in the Bronx. I have fond memories of mom and I going to the soda fountain. It was heartbreaking to see them close, but they couldn’t keep up with Walmart.

And lastly, it’s customer service. REI has taken it further to a “customer experience”. Cabela’s is another. I have a client, Saguaro Scuba in Mesa, who I love visiting, because when I walk into the store I’m instantly transported to the ocean – in the middle of the desert!

Even if you’re not a brick and mortar retail shop or restaurant, you still need to:

  • keep up with the times and the technology
  • keep tabs on your competition
  • make sure you keep the customers happy

You need to…

  1. Analyze monthly what’s working and what’s not working and why.
  2. Plan strategically how you want to reach your target market.
  3. Read customer reviews and address complaints quickly.

If you’re not sure in which direction your business is going, talking with a SCORE mentor will help. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing strategist & trainer helping business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official social media, newsletter and blog manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and offers Social media classes at the new AZ Social Media Training Center. 602-738-1700. You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google+.