Financial Clarity for Entrepreneurs

Your Advantage Won’t Last Forever

Conversation Starter, the free online companion to Harvard Business Review, has a long blog post / short essay on Staples attempt at new strategic innovation.

You should read the whole thing, but here are some nuggets:

…all strategies have a sell-by date. Just because you were a successfully disruptive business doesn’t mean you can’t fall victim to the same forces. Competitors will come, and absent entry barriers, they can simply copy what you’ve successfully done (without all that time-wasting analysis and experimentation to figure out the model, too).

Call that the Microsoft strategy.

Customers will — most irritatingly — take what used to excite them in the past for granted.

Remember, your customer is not your friend.  At its core, the customer-vendor relationship is a commercial one, and the minute you cease to provide value to the customer, they will depart.

But, no law says you have to do business with customers who don’t bring value to you as well.  A healthy business relationship is one in which both sides win.

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