Past Success Is No Guarantee of Future Success

Past success is no guarantee of future success. Just ask Shakey’s Pizza, Ground Round Grill & Bar or Frisch’s Big Boy. If you’re scratching your head wondering what these companies are, you have proven my point.

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the ways these three companies, which were once recognizable anywhere, have shrunk now that consumer tastes in food and beverage have changed. Shakey’s Pizza was at its peak in 1974 with 350 units, now the company has a mere 60. Ground Round Grill & Bar had 219 stores in 1989, now it’s down to 22 units, and Frisch’s Big Boy which peaked at 210 units in the early 1980s has nearly been cut in half with 121 units today.

So what happened to all of these “powerhouses”? The simple answer is change. New competitors emerged and consumer tastes evolved, but the brands were slow to adapt.

Anticipating change and focusing on the future is key to success long-term. That’s why I often use the phrase “grow or die,” when speaking about company growth and strategic acquisitions. If you feel yourself leaning back in your armchair and propping your feet up, stop! It’s always dangerous to get too comfortable, even when your company is doing well.

If you find yourself on the opposite end of the spectrum, where your business is stagnant or even shrinking, don’t panic; there is still hope. Shakey’s Pizza, Ground Round Grill & Bar, and Frisch’s Big Boy are all executing strategies like adding healthier ingredients, rebranding the restaurants, and focusing on regional rather than national reach, to regain success. While these brands may not look like they did in the past, the world doesn’t either.

Take a closer look at your industry and consider what disruptions may be just around the corner, how the market is changing, and the needs of your clients in the future. Aligning your organization to respond to these future dynamics can take time, so don’t wait around. Acquiring can accelerate your growth and quickly help reposition your business to tackle today’s dynamic market and future demand. Being strategic and continually reassessing your company’s position and the marketplace is the best way to ensure long-term growth.

Learn more about planning for long-term growth in our webinar on December 13:  7 Strategic Questions to Ask Before Pursuing Mergers & Acquisitions.

Photo credit: Paxson Woelber via Flickr CC BY 2.0