Toys “R” Us was once a leading retailer of toys, children’s clothing, and baby products. Founded in 1948 by Charles Lazarus, the Toys “R” Us name made its American debut in 1957. The company started as a baby goods and furniture store called Children’s Bargain Town in Washington, DC. In the subsequent years, Lazarus reinvented the business to include toy stores and grew it internationally with over 1500 stores in 35 countries around the world.
Unfortunately, Toys “R” Us lost their reinvention muscle and filed for bankruptcy in 2017 due to increasing competition from online retailers. This led to their stores closing by June 2018.
However, after two years of restructuring efforts, Toys “R” Us has recently made a comeback with new stores popping up across the country.
The new Toys “R” Us stores are smaller than before but still offer a wide selection of toys and games for kids of all ages (See: kids trapped in adult bodies). They also feature interactive experiences such as virtual reality gaming stations and augmented reality displays that allow customers to explore the products before buying them. The company is also focusing on providing more personalized customer service with knowledgeable staff members who can help customers find what they’re looking for.
When the Fortune 500 list was created in 1955, it marked the beginning of a new era in American business. The list was made up of some of the biggest and most successful companies in the United States. However, since then, many of those companies have gone out of business or been acquired by other companies. Research shows that a staggering 52% of Fortune 500 companies from 2000 are now extinct. This statistic highlights how quickly the business landscape can change and how important it is for businesses to stay agile and be able to adapt to changing market conditions if they want to survive. There are several reasons why companies fall off the Fortune 500 list, but some of the most common are:
Mergers and Acquisitions: Many larger companies find it easier to acquire smaller competitors or merge with similarly-sized businesses to expand their market share and increase their profit margins. This strategy has become increasingly popular in the last two decades, resulting in fewer independent companies.
New Technologies and Innovations: Many of the companies on the Fortune 500 list at one time were leaders in their field, but they failed to keep up with new technologies and innovations. As a result, they were surpassed by more nimble competitors who were able to quickly adapt to a changing market, introduce disruptive technologies, and capture new customers.
Globalization: Globalization has had a huge impact on the business landscape as well, creating new opportunities and threats for companies. Access to labor and resources has become cheaper and more efficient, creating a level playing field for companies operating in different parts of the world. This has made it easier for smaller competitors to enter the market and challenge larger, more established companies.
Changes in Consumer Habits: Changing consumer habits can also cause companies to fall off the Fortune 500 list. For example, the shift from print media to digital media has been a major blow to many companies in the media industry, resulting in bankruptcies and mergers. Overall, this statistic should serve as a reminder of how quickly the business landscape can change and how important it is for businesses to be able to adapt if they want to remain successful.
Fear of Change: Companies sometimes become overly comfortable with their existing strategies and processes, but they need to constantly challenge themselves and remain open to new ideas if they want to stay competitive. Ultimately, companies that want to succeed in today’s business environment need to be able to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, embrace new technologies, and remain open to innovation.
Staying competitive in a rapidly-changing business environment is no easy task and requires corporate courage. Companies need to find the courage to embrace change and evolve their strategies and processes to survive. Companies that cannot adapt quickly enough may find themselves falling off the Fortune 500 list, just like so many other companies before them. Finding the courage to evolve entails the following:
Innovating is Key: Leaders must be willing to take risks, innovate, and stay ahead of the curve if they want to make an impact on today’s consumers. This could mean utilizing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) or developing new products or services tailored specifically for their target market. Companies need to provide an environment that encourages innovation, so that their employees can think outside the box and develop creative solutions.
Embracing Change: What got you here won’t keep you here. Businesses must be ready to adapt quickly to changes in the market and consumer trends. This could mean restructuring their business model, updating or changing their products or services, or even pivoting their focus to a different market. Taking risks is essential for any company. Companies need to be willing to try out new ideas and strategies, even if there is a chance of failure.
Investing in Talent: Companies must invest in their employees and look for ways to help them succeed. This could mean providing additional training, offering flexible working arrangements, or creating an environment where employees can bring their ideas to the table. Nurturing diversity in thought, perspectives, and backgrounds at the office can help foster an atmosphere that encourages creativity and innovation.
Focusing on the Future: The most successful companies will be those that can identify trends, anticipate the needs of their consumers, and adjust their business strategies accordingly. Extinct companies hold on to tradition and existing processes, while successful companies look to the future. Companies must be willing to try new things and focus on what is ahead rather than staying rooted in their past successes.
I recall an interview I conducted with the late, great Tony Hsieh. He was in my first book Return On Courage and had asked if I would call my second book Return On Curiosity. I was picking up what he was putting down. If companies want to stay successful in an ever-changing business landscape, they must develop a culture of agility, openness and, above all, curiosity. This means accepting the needs of change. Companies must be willing to experiment, fail quickly, and adjust their strategies as needed. It can be difficult for companies to make such drastic changes, but those that can do so will find themselves better prepared for future disruptions. While 52% may seem like a high percentage of extinct companies, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for current Fortune 500 members—as long as they continue innovating and adapting quickly enough, there’s no telling how far these companies can go!