Can your company succeed over the long term?
DuPont was founded in July 1802 as a gunpowder mill before it became the massive chemical company it is today. The Gap was founded in 1969 as a record store that also sold jeans.
What do great companies have in common? They adapt over decades, even generations.
Our family was in the oyster-harvesting trade in the 1800s and then pioneered clam processing in the 1940s. Today Blount Fine Foods is a prepared-foods company for retailers and restaurants nationwide.
There are three key elements that allow for successful, long-term adaptation.
» Try new things, but something that is one step removed from what you are doing now. Oysters => clams => clam chowder => broccoli cheese soup => mac and cheese. Six degrees of separation can completely transform your company and make you relevant in the future.
» Stop doing things. This is more difficult than the first idea, and more important. In recent years, Blount has discontinued more product lines than it has started. Knowing when to walk away and doing so successfully is critical.
» Reinvest into the things that are working. Blount currently has a greater than 50 percent market share of refrigerated retail soups and is the premier provider of soup at retail. We pour our profits back into the business, making product lines more efficient and brands stronger through marketing.
Building your team and your structure to repeatedly take these three steps will guarantee relevancy in the long term. •