The taxi industry is in trouble.
That’s pretty much common knowledge these days. Alternatives like Uber and Lyft have risen up and completely dominated the industry, not only stealing massive market share but expanding the market considerably.
It doesn’t take an expert analyst to see what happened: Uber and Lyft appeared, and the taxi industry’s response was far too little, and far too late. In general, the taxi business has remained largely stagnant for decades. Comparable service industries have undergone massive evolutions along with technology, and yet the taxi industry still had us hunting for a phone number, dialing them up, paying per mile, crossing our fingers that traffic wouldn’t impact our cost, and awkwardly contemplating a cash tip.
The industry didn’t change because nothing was forcing it to change. But that lack of evolution created massive vulnerability. Uber and Lyft identified that vulnerability and pounced on it.
This is just one (very large, very public) example of not just a business, but an entire industry falling victim to a failure to evolve. The business graveyard is littered with other industries and companies whose stagnation spelled their demise.
What does this mean for you? It means you can’t just compare your performance to your competitors. You have to think about where the entire market is going. Say Bob’s Taxi Company had 70% market share in their town and was laser focused on getting to 80% market share. They’re clearly doing very well—by traditional metrics. But, as it turned out, their metrics were all wrong. 80% market share means very little if the market is about to get upended.
Perhaps you’re in a less volatile/vulnerable industry so you don’t feel as though this applies to you. For starters, we’d ask: are you sure about that? Has someone performed market analysis that goes beyond the existing market?
It’s hard to think of a single industry that hasn’t been upended or couldn’t be upended by shifting technology. People, the Pope has a Twitter account. Need we say more? Evolve. Or get pushed out.