Friday, December 23, 2011
Gumming Up the Works
A young entrepreneur moved from Philadelphia to Chicago in 1891 with $32 in his pocket and the idea of selling his family's scouring soap to customers. As an incentive, the 29-year-old offered free baking powder with each soap purchase.
Before long, the baking powder became so popular that he began selling it instead. He then came up with a new incentive: two free packages of chewing gum with each can of baking powder sold.
As you might have guessed, the gum proved more popular than the baking powder, so he decided to change his product line once again. And that is how William Wrigley, Jr., started one of the most iconic brands of chewing gum on the market today.
In business (as in life), things don't always go exactly as we plan. Markets change, technologies evolve, and what worked yesterday won't always work today, tomorrow, or down the road.
Knowing when -- and how -- to adapt can mean the difference between success and failure for any enterprise. In Wrigley's case, that meant understanding his customers' evolving needs -- and adapting his product line to meet those new demands.
What will it mean for you and your company in 2012? Only time will tell, so be prepared to recognize new trends, embrace new attitudes, and adapt your plans accordingly.