Harvard Business Review has an excellent article in its July-August 2007 magazine called "The Four Principles of Enduring Success". It is somewhat of a "Good to Great" look at companies that have achieved long term success and what was the root cause of their success. The four principles were.
- Exploit before you explore
- Diversify your business portfolio
- Remember your mistakes
- Be conservative about change
With the first principle the author, Christian Stadler, concludes that companies that find new ways to exploit or expand their existing business have more success over the long term than companies that re-invent themselves and explore totally different markets. It is not that you shouldn't explore more markets, but more of the company's attention should be put into exploiting than exploring. I found this to be quite interesting and when looking in the rear view mirror I have to agree. What does this mean for AEC commercial reprographics? It is an interesting question? Many people argue that printing volumes are declining and it is time to look at other markets. I would question whether you have actually been in the printing market for the last ten years? I don't believe so. I believe you have been in the information or content logistics market, but called it printing. If you accept that you are in the construction content logistics market and find ways to exploit this market there is long term enduring success ahead of you. If you believe you are in the printing business your business will decline with print volumes. If you try to abandon ship and jump into a different market you face some of the risks and perils companies described in the HBR article.