Everyone has an opinion on how companies are succeeding, or not succeeding. People invest differently, some think that the market is about to crash while others think it is only going upwards. Certain startup investors see companies as a good risk and worth investing millions in, while others run for the hills. In the same vein, I have an opinion on certain companies that most people will simply scratch their head and say “not possible” towards.
This article is devoted to those types of companies that can be interpreted two different ways. The companies that are at a crossroads and their next few decisions will significantly influence their future outlook. Some of these companies are more of a stretch than others, but they are all worth considering.
All of these companies are large companies. I’m sure there are a number of smaller companies that are at critical crossroads. They are at crossroads, but I am not going to discuss them today. I’m only going to discuss the larger companies that have the potential to drastically change an entire industry, due to their massive size.
The catch here when reading these companies is to not simply skim through the brands that I mention, but the reason why they are at the crossroads. When you see brands like Amazon and Apple, you will want to write it off, but just consider the crossroads and keep an eye out for how they handle each situation in the future.
This is one of the most obvious choices due to recent news of scandals, the CEO stepping down, etc., but I have been saying that Lyft will be a stronger competitor in the future and this is a time where it could come true.
Uber quickly shock up as the giant in the world of ride-sharing and on-demand “taxi” rides. The trouble came when they started to shift their perspective away from their core customer and attempted to expand. When they diverted their attention, trouble started to brew. For analogy sake, Uber was focusing on planting new plants in the garden all while weeds were growing behind them.
So, what should Uber do? Contrary to a startup mindset, they need to slow down and focus on their core product. Investors will not be happy with this, but customers will and that will, in turn, recover their reputation, strengthen their customer base, and then, once that is solidified, they can expand.
Another idea? Rebrand to a more family friendly company by changing the color of the logo from black to a brighter color, adding a light-hearted sense of humor to bookings or profiles.
No matter what they end up doing, this is a crucial time in their development. If they do not handle it properly, the risk will be that they will create the space (more than they already have) for Lyft to snag some market share.
Similar to Uber, Amazon has drastically shot to the top and innovated on products like Alexa, Echo, Fire Stick, Fresh, and the list goes on. The trouble with Amazon is that their customers are expecting more innovations at a faster rate.
While Amazon is innovating quickly, in this fast moving, digitally-revolutionized world, their customers will set their base expectation at the level that Amazon is innovating and then want them to innovate further past that level. Said another way, Amazon is breaking their PR’s and their customers want them to continue to beat it every practice and race. It’s crazy to think this way, but it is true!
So, Amazon now has to continue to innovate, but also manage the customer’s expectations. The “make it or break it” point has approached and now it is time to see how Amazon faces the challenge.
I have had a pretty dismal outlook on Apple’s future for awhile and I haven’t changed anything yet. While financially they are improving and have the cash to invest, the innovation and leadership lacks direction and calculated risk taking.
What should they do? Besides investing their excessive amount of capital into solid companies, they need to loosen the reigns on the intolerance to risk taking. Apple has had a vast amount of success and their workers are too scared to take risk that will make them reach the level that they need. One solution that has not been done too frequently would be to hire a co-CEO that focuses on creating a vision for the company, innovating for the future, and doesn’t need to worry about the financial aspect of the company (that would be Tim Cook’s job).
Although these 3 companies might shock you, it is important to note that I am not saying that these companies are doomed or that their future is bleak. What I am saying is that they have some important decisions coming up and it will be extremely important that they make the right decision.
Either way, keep the three companies and their respective crossroads in mind when you read their news over the next month or so. Personally, I hope that all of them choose the correct path, since I am a big fan of all of them. However, time will tell which companies are the leaders and ones that choose the correct path.