During the press conference to announce Nokia being acquired by Microsoft, its CEO, including his management team, broke down in tears.
The tech world is always in flux. What is popular today can be obsolete tomorrow.
As innovations that disrupt the business world seem to come out of nowhere and could do so virtually any time, many companies who cannot adapt, eventually lose their edge and fizzle out.
Take for example Microsoft. While it is still one of the current software industry giants, they have been playing catch-up to its rivals Apple and Google in recent years.
Probably the most dramatic loss that taught many expensive and hard lessons was the failure of former telecom titan Nokia who failed to adapt and move with the times.
In between the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, which was Nokia’s heyday, Nokia is to the cellphone what Apple is to the smartphone.
Prior to the days of the smartphone, virtually everybody owned a Nokia cellphone. But the unthinkable happened—Nokia faded away and was overtaken by its competitors.
Here are 5 lessons all entrepreneurs ought to learn from Nokia’s debacle to avoid the mistakes that cost it’s demise.
1. Always stay informed of what your customer wants
Never fall in love with your brand to the point that you will be unwilling to improve on it if need be. As social media sites and apps start flooding the smartphone market, Nokia stuck to its old model. Soon it found itself losing its once loyal customer base. What is important to continually succeed in business is: What your customers want, not what you think is good for them.
2. Be open to experiment, innovate, and change
Once you know what the market wants and what is trending, get ahead of your competitors by innovating. To find out how, regularly evaluate your products to find out the areas that need improvement. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things as well. It’s that kind of drive to keep giving customers the best that enabled Apple and Google to outdo their competition.
3. Your business model must be sustainable
As you improve on your products and get ahead in the market, your business model must follow suit. Never let it stay put, even if they were successful. You will end up being unable to tap into emerging sales channels that can potentially increase your revenues. Instead, learn what you can about the new working business model and update your business model accordingly.
4. Follow the money; do not stay focused on where you are currently getting yours
For a start, you need to know where the opportunities are opening up. One example is how Xiaomi has been gearing itself to get an even bigger portion of the smartphone market.
Samsung and other telecom giants has been selling units to individual customers which is nothing wrong, but Xiaomi has already anticipated that today’s smartphone user will soon tap into the Internet of Things (IoT), shifting their sales approach to align with the kind of e-commerce that can penetrate the IoT, and positioning itself early to overtake its competitors in the near future.
5. Create a channel that will enable you to tap the best possible talents
Talent is crucial in the tech business, or any business for that matter. Having the best, the brightest, and the most hardworking will bring any business to the next level. Nokia kept following the traditional recruitment mode and just hired talent, as they needed it. That approach may have worked for any other company, but Nokia’s competitors were outstripping it by creating a channel where the most sought-after workforce in tech—developers—were able to reach out to and form relationships with them.
With developers come ideas and with ideas come technology. Companies who can consistently create innovative technology that meets their respective markets’ needs stand a much higher chance of success in the long run.