A stubborn business model sinks RadioShack

I may not know much about the stock market and its indicators, but I know why RadioShack filed chapter 11 bankruptcy this past week. It was clear to me and the general public for 20 years that RadioShack was in trouble.

In the 1990s, Best Buy and Circuit City electronics stores sprung up all over the Chicago suburbs.¬†Today, when a new store or restaurant pops up, you’ll see old standbys remodeling and updating their brand, buildings and interior design (See Olive Garden, JC Penney, and even Wendy’s over the past few years). But RadioShack didn’t adjust. In 2015, RadioShack looks and acts the same as it did in the 1990s. They didn’t add big screen TVs, music, or appliances to their product line.

Expanding product offerings is not always the way to go. But meanwhile, the Internet has been here for 20 years, gadgets and games have changed greatly. For a store that specializes in electronics to hardly change is alarming.

Equally as alarming is that RadioShack never changed their high prices.

This past winter, I needed a power cord for an electronic device right away, and it was something that Best Buy or Walmart would not carry. So I went to RadioShack. I trusted that they would have the product, and they did. This is what RadioShack had going for it, a specific niche of electronics that some stores wouldn’t carry. But they never budged on pricing. In fact, the clerk told me that although they had the cord at about $35, I could find it on Amazon.com for $8. She told me to buy it now and use it, order another one on Amazon, then return the first one to RadioShack. That’s right, clerk actually told me to shop somewhere else! When your own employees recommend other companies, you know something is wrong.

As a business owner, I’m using this lesson from RadioShack to remind myself of my longtime claim that I will change as needed. I will learn new technologies and strategies as necessary as a digital marketer.

The world is fast-changing, and I find it hard to believe that any industry at this point is not impacted by a desperate need to change. jSinger helps companies advertise on Google and Facebook – the same companies who used to spend on the Yellow Pages. Some have adjusted. Some still have not. But even beyond advertising, investing in new technology is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to keep your business alive.

Where to start? That’s the difficult question, especially if you are a large company with multiple departments. I’m sure each department is hitting you with suggestions of new products and tools. That’s where your management and leadership come into play. If you still struggle, seek out business process consultants such as BOSI DNA or Revenue Storm. Both are forward thinking, people-oriented companies that will come into your business, analyze your processes, and show you how to improve.

Maybe if RadioShack sought out these external opinions – from the general public or from consultants – it could have saved its business.

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