What Is Old Is New Again
The world is cyclical. This is scientifically proven fact. Ice ages come and go, weather patterns change, and then change back. Animals migrate to one area, only to later head back to where they started. This is as true in business as much as it is in nature. Look at how many products that were once popular, died away almost entirely, only to come back again years later. Bell bottoms enjoyed a renewed period of popularity before fading again into obscurity. Country music had a renaissance when it took on a more rock influenced edge in the 90s. Thankfully boy bands (with the exception of a reunion tour here and there, looking at you New Kids On The Block) haven’t come back yet, and I think I speak for all of humanity when I say I hope that one stays buried in the past.
One specific example I’d like to bring up is a clothing company out of Los Angeles called Kikwear. Formed in 1991 by current CEO Alex Berenson, Gregg Ostrow and Dusty Cohen (shining examples of self-employed self starters, Personal Independent Earners one and all, though Cohen did eventually leave the company), they originally made boxer shorts noted for a longer leg length than was (and still is) considered the standard. But they really hit their stride later in the 1990s when they began selling extremely wide legged pants that caught on in the skateboarding and electronic music communities. For over a decade they enjoyed tremendous success, with the company becoming a household name amongst the subcultures to whom they marketed their products. But, with all things being cyclical, their trademark designs eventually became less popular and the company moved on to other styles, continuing production of only a select few of the classic designs that brought them their success.
Fast forward to today, and the style for which Kikwear originally became known is enjoying a huge resurgence, along with the electronic music culture that helped to popularize it. They are currently in the midst of clearing out all of their classic stock, preparing for the launch of a whole new line of their signature wide legged pants this winter. One of the people who do some work for me brought this to my attention, as he is recently signed on as a member of their huge new international promotional team they’re putting together as part of a massive online marketing campaign and from what he’s been telling me, the excitement for the new line is unlike anything he’s ever seen before.
This is a great example of how business is as cyclical as nature. A product enjoyed tremendous success, only to fade into semi-obscurity, before coming back as big (if not bigger) than ever. There are a two main points that all of you faithful readers should take away from this little tale.
Be Prepared To Reinvent Yourself and Your Business: There may come a time when the products and services you offer may no longer be required, or may see a sudden lapse in popularity. This could very easily lead to the failure of your business. As I’ve said in the past (and I do hope I’ve drilled this point home by now), should that ever come to pass, pick yourself up and try again. But why let that happen in the first place? I’ve suggested to you before that you need to be creative, and even really really creative, in order to succeed. Put some of that creativity to work future-proofing your business. It isn’t hard to see the writing on the wall and pick up on the signs that maybe your business might be headed for a slump. Put together some ways that you can move your business in different directions than you’re currently heading, so that should your primary course begin to fail, you have other paths to follow. Who knows, you may even enjoy even more success along the way.
You May Have Picked The Wrong Time: Timing is everything. And all things being cyclical, it is entirely feasible that you’ve simply picked the wrong point to come to market with what you have to offer. I do not mean to suggest that there is some preordained point at which starting your business will bring you success. That wouldn’t be true. It simply means that any of the hundreds of thousands of factors at work (so many I could never hope to list them all) are not presently in your favor. That doesn’t mean they never will be. However, that also doesn’t mean they ever will be either. But don’t give up friends. I’ve told you time and time again to keep trying. Simply pick a better moment.
That’s all quite a lot to think about, but don’t worry about it overly much. Nothing here is anything you shouldn’t have come up with on your own. Just be quick on your feet (and with your head), keep an eye on the trends in your chosen line of work, and remember that what once was popular and successful, can become popular again. And what may not immediately catch on, may just need to be tried again at the proper time.
Success is out there waiting for you. You just need to find the right time in the cycle to snatch it, as Alex Berenson, Gregg Ostrow and Dusty Cohen of Kikwear did.