Make sure that your success doesn’t breed dumb decisions

Here’s an article on the domination of Best Buy and what it plans to do with its powerful marketspace and retail clout. Best Buy is a big box store that has survived the demise of most, if not all, similar competitors. Because of their newfound clout, they are–hold your breath, this is new–branching out into new territory. My “tongue in cheek” comment there has nothing to do with a successful company’s march into new territory–that’s fine and I wish them well. Rather, it has to do with how often the branching out fails and dilutes the primary mission of the company or organization. Or, in tough times, the branching out costs too much money to sustain. 

Here’s a description of Best Buy’s new strategy:

He (the CEO) wants to go beyond the typical big-box retailer role of selling commodity products such as televisions and personal computers and become a central player in determining which products come to market and how big-spending customers choose the latest gear.

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So, Best Buy wants to influence suppliers in WHAT they make and HOW they make it rather than simply selling already “in the can” products. They want to influence the game of technology rather than simply sell the stuff at the swap meet.

Not a bad idea. But, there are potential areas where it could backfire. The author of the article points out that Best Buy could find itself clashing with rival technology companies and thereby find itself in the bad position of “dating seriously” several people at the same time, while trying to make it look like each “person/company” is really the one they love the most.

This, in my estimation has already occurred with Apple. For full disclosure here, I’m an Apple fanatic. But, I can’t imagine that Apple was thrilled with the series of 2009 commercials from Best Buy that showed people choosing a PC over a MAC because the PC “had more of what the person needed,” and “was cheaper.” As a MAC freak, I found the commercials stupid and untrue and made me dislike Best Buy. I wonder what Steve Jobs thought?

I’m just rambling now. There is a point. Success is often the precursor to stupid ideas and decisions that lead to unnecessary failure. Can you say K-Mart? When things are going good and you have success, it certainly is a time to be forward looking. But, that’s true in tough times as well. What success does is create this euphoric sense that, WE CAN DO NO WRONG. Or, WE ARE REALLY IMPORTANT. Those mentalities are rife with problems and usually are the beginning of decisions that, a few years later, can bite a company in the back-side.

The art of positioning a company is not easy. But, Best Buy needs to be wise in how it throws its weight around. If they don’t, they could end up biting the hand that feeds them.

When you’re successful increase the humility in your decision making and you may save yourself a whole lot of grief.

 

 

 

2009-12-16T13:47:20-04:00

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Written by Dave Fleming