In 1955 the average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company was 75 years. In 2015 it was only 15. Shifts in consumer loyalty trends, saturated markets, international manufacturing, and outsourcing have all played a role in this decline.
The economy has changed. Modern revenue streams would be almost unrecognizable compared to those that were in place just 50 years ago, pivoting from a focus on product, to product and service, to consumers, to where it has landed today, focused on relationships. You see it everywhere you look, from thriving sharing economy companies like AirBnB, Lyft, and Uber to the newly trendy subscription economy. Faceless, misunderstood developers can build intimate relationships between their SaaS companies and their consumers. Consumers agree to commit to a longer term monetary relationship with the expectation of real-time access, fully customized with on-demand fulfillment -- easily done when capitalizing on exhaustive data.
The churn in Fortune 500 companies over the past 50 years is proof that innovation and vigour will always win in a hyper-competitive, consumer oriented global market economy.
Success isn't guaranteed, no matter how big or old a company is. Zenith Electronics and Detroit Steel are great examples of this. Facebook, eBay, Netflix, and Google have built their success through offering global rails and seamless experiences that already fit into people's lifestyles.
Businesses of all sizes are adjusting their business models to find success. As cost-competition and accessibility are forcing prices down, margins are decreasing. The result of this is that businesses must now sell to larger markets to see the returns they had historically experienced. Mom and Pop businesses must now service and ship all over the globe and accept payment with costly foreign exchange and transaction fees. Global platforms like Shopify, Goldmoney, and Magento are a great resource for small businesses to tackle a global audience, broaden access, and remove friction and limitations.
At the end of the day, the biggest take away from this shift is that stagnation and complacency are a sure fire way to fail at business. Consistency in updating technology and a maintaining a global mindset will at least give businesses a fighting chance.
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