Business cycles happen constantly. Companies grow and decline. Markets respond to the changing needs of the consumer and the process repeats itself. That cycle is happening again. Let’s talk about beer.
For decades, the beer industry in the United States has been dominated by three brewers: Miller, Budweiser, and Coors. Say what you will about each brand, but they are all mass produced and designed to appeal to a large audience. Beyond the big three, there wasn’t much else to choose from. Then the market began to change.
A counter culture of beer enthusiasts began to appear. Some of this might have started with the availability to brew your own at home. Changes in regulations also helped create the craft brew industry. Now bars and restaurants were able to brew small batches. As the years passed, microbreweries began to pop up all over. Their experimentation with ingredients showed the consumer there was more to beer than the barley pop their parents drank.
While the large brewers still exist today, their market has changed. As companies like Miller and Bud lost market share, they found themselves in merger or buyout situations. Younger generations of beer drinkers preferred the variety of the local brewers. Today, you can find a microbrewery virtually everywhere.
This is just one example of how businesses cycle from small to big and back to small again. Recent years brought the rise of Amazon with its liberal return policy and convenience of ordering pretty much anything to have it shipped to your home for free in two days. But even Amazon is leading to a counter culture as well. The early rumblings in the media and through social channels tells the story of a giant who has grown too big. People are starting to push back on companies that have become too intrusive into every aspect of our lives. While I’m sure Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and a host of other large corporations will be around for a long time, we are seeing the shift to people wanting to know who they are supporting and where their products are coming from.
That is where the opportunity lies. Every business has the potential to be highly successful even if they have to compete with the Amazons of the world. Know your market. Define your customer. Dominate your industry. Sound simple? If it were you wouldn’t be reading this. That is why you need to take the time to review your business and tap into the talent. What makes you stand out? How will you compete? What are you prepared to do? What’s going to be your David to slay Goliath?