You may be closer than you think. I’ve developed the term “A Newspaper Business” to describe any executive, business, or organization that meets the following three criteria:
- An unsustainable business model
- The willingness to admit that the model is unsustainable and agree that transformation is necessary
- The lack of guts/stomach/commitment to truly engage in transformation
The newspaper industry admits that its model is dead, and they willingly engage in discussions about transformation, and then … they increment. They make modest improvements, they put their proverbial toe in the water and they increment their way to oblivion.
Why are they so afraid? Well, it’s natural to be scared. It’s normal to hold off of letting go of what’s worked for you when it’s so uncertain of what will work for you in the future. Besides, you've made a lot of money doing what you've done. Sure, if newspapers had embraced the Internet and online distribution when they should have (say, 5 - 10 years ago), they would have killed their cash cows – and who wants to kill a cash cow?
Your yet to emerge competitors do – that’s who!! If you’re afraid of killing your business, you can rest assured that some upstart individual or company would like nothing more than to kill you business. IBM killed its business model when they embraced a service model instead of a product sales model. That's what The Dave Matthews Band did when they gave their music away - and found a way to make money through concerts and merchandise. So don’t wait, take the initiative and be the one to kill your business model.
The failure to do so means that you’re in “A Newspaper Business.”