There’s nothing like walking into Blockbuster on a Friday evening to prepare for a quiet evening at home. Except this isn’t 1999, and therefore Blockbuster is just a beautiful memory.
But why just a memory? After all, in the 90s, they had a great model. It was far easier than standing in line at the movie theater, and the whole experience was a lot less expensive, so for years, their business model never changed. And why would it? The model was good enough. Sure, it was still inconvenient to get in your car and drive to a video store only to find your movie rented out, but we didn’t know a better way.
See what we mean? Good enough.
You know the rest. Netflix and streaming killed the video store. So now for the scary part: there’s probably something at your company that’s also “good enough.” Maybe you think it’ll never have to change. Maybe you think it can’t, because you haven’t come up with a better way. We’re here to tell you to snap out of it.
Take Another Look: 3 Good Enough Case Studies
Let’s look at a few good enough initiatives, resulting in companies missing their chance at greatness. It’s not that their product was terrible. On the contrary, it was what everyone was doing at the time. When you get lulled into a comfortable place, sometimes you forget that things don’t have to be a certain way just because they always have been.
Apple Versus Android
In the early days of the smartphone, Google was busy cracking the difficulties of bringing the internet to your pocket. They’d spent nearly two years creating code and prototypes, working 15 or 16 hours a day at times. They had what they thought was a phone poised to revolutionize the market.
Then Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone.
It turns out, Google engineers overestimated the public’s dedication to a physical keyboard. After all, it was good enough, right? It provided a tactile response, even if it couldn’t offer customized controls. But untethering the phone from tactile response altogether was too much, so every phone they designed had a physical keyboard.
Unfortunately, they were wrong—and now the iPhone is still the biggest name in the smartphone industry. If Google had focused more on changing the inconvenient nature of a physical keyboard, they might have beaten Apple. Their phone was arguably more revolutionary; many feel it had better software. But ditching the physical keyboard solved a problem no one realized they had until the iPhone came along.
Banks Versus Millennials
We know, we know—millennials are destroying all the industries. Of course, none of this destruction is intentional. Simply put, millennials are the first generation in a long time to rethink the way they consume just about everything, with the technology to back up their ideas—and nowhere is this more apparent than in the way they bank.
Banks used to be a necessary errand. But let’s face it—their hours aren’t the most convenient, even with a drive through with a tube. Millennials didn’t want to rush to the bank before it closed, and with the advent of online banking, they didn’t have to. That may have been “good enough” for previous generations, but millennials weren’t having it.
These days, online banking services work the way you do. You can deposit checks with your smartphone. You can shop around for loans through an app. You can invest automatically by rounding up purchases and micro-investing with mutual funds. You can even open an account built with freelancers in mind, designed to get you paid faster and guarantee your invoices.
We’re even seeing a revolution in our currency through blockchain technology. Tired of the black box of finance exchange rates and the endless runaround with traditional currency exchanges? Cryptocurrency to the rescue.
There isn’t a bank around that hasn’t added some of these features to keep younger generations of customers. By reexamining the way we could bank, instead of banking the way we’d always been told we had to, we now have a thriving online finance community that banks the way we need to.
Dollar Shave Versus Gillette
For years, Gilette and Schick dominated the razor industry, focusing on building more elaborate razors, more blades, better contouring—more more more. Razor companies were so focused on giving us an innovative new razor that they left themselves wide open for Dollar Shave Club to come in and exploit the one thing we all knew to be true.
Shopping for razors–and keeping them stocked–is inconvenient.
Dollar Shave Club’s razors are good, yes, but what the company really did was solve the problem of “good enough.” Their home delivery service makes it easy for us to get new, quality razors that arrive right at our door. Putting 5-blade razors on our shopping list was “good enough,” but Unilever finally acquired Dollar Shave Club for a billion dollars. Yes, a billion.
Making Time For Innovation
These companies focused on the lightning fast rule of building the next new thing, but if they slowed down a little, they might have noticed a few opportunities for innovation. It doesn’t always feel like progress to evaluate long-standing systems in your business, but that could be the key.
Here’s the thing. You don’t always have time to innovate every aspect of your business, but you don’t have to settle for good enough. Take your contracts, for example. If they’re a huge pain and they take forever, there’s hope – and it’s time to change. Yes, implementing a new system is a challenge – but as we’ve seen here, it’s worth facing the challenge in order to cut a new path for your team.
You just might solve that “good enough” problem and never look back.