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Making it in the Modern Business Environment


Apr 10, 2018 #Nike, #sportswear

Just do it. That has to be one of the catchiest slogans of all time. It is simple, no-nonsense and leaves no room for misinterpretation. It is the epitome of the spirit that was behind the founding of Nike so many decades ago.

Back then, the idea of having more than one kind of running shoe was nothing short of ludicrous. In the sixties, you had very little choice – it was running shoes with spikes. They were heavy, clumsy and not ideal for the fleet-footed runner.

And so the kernel of an idea was born.

Why couldn’t running shoes be more flexible, lightweight and long-lasting?

Did you really even need the spikes?

These were the questions that track coach Bill Bowerman set out to answer, and the results were phenomenal.

It was clear that Bill was onto a great idea. At the time, he was training athlete Phil Knight, and Phil could see the potential from the beginning. The pair took the, at the time, unthinkable step of ordering their shoes to be made in Japan instead of Germany.

It was not all smooth sailing. The manufacturers hardly ever met their deadlines, and it was difficult to borrow operating capital from banks. But hard work and perseverance paid off.

It is a truly inspiring story – the company started on a very simple idea has now grown into a multinational billion-dollar enterprise. Did Bowerman and Knight see it getting this massive? Not from the outset, but they did have faith in their idea and they didn’t let anything stop them.

And that is the most important lesson that we can take from this story. Nike was not an overnight success. In fact, initially, it was considered a bad business venture. Despite achieving outstanding sales, financing was tough to come by at first.

For a lot of people, this would have been an insurmountable obstacle. It would have been easy for Bowerman and Knight to quit at any time during those uncertain early days. And imagine what would have happened if they had. But they never quit. They found a way to “Just do it.”

It just goes to show how successful a well-considered product can be. Nike shoes are not now, and have never been, designed around what is best for the company. And this client-centric model is something that modern businesses would do well to emulate.

Think about your own product or service. Have you designed it around what you want? How much thought have you given to the clients that will be using the product or service? Have you asked for their opinions? How open are you to feedback?

The business environment has become more and more competitive over time, moving distinctly in favor of the buyer. It is the end-user that has all the power in the relationship, and savvy companies understand that.

Today’s users want to know that businesses are responding to their needs. How is your business responding to those needs? If you really want that edge, take a couple of lessons from Nike – center on the end-user’s needs and then just do it. No nonsense, no excuses.

By admin