Greyhound lacked the vision and adaptability to survive

The bus service let complacency rule and its leadership failed to deliver a vision of what could be

Dear Dave,

I think you should write an article about Greyhound bus service.

It’s no marvel they are going out of business. When I took the bus to Edmonton last year, it was the same bus as the previous time I had ridden one … 30 years previous.

The guy who was trying to board the bus ahead of me had an air pistol in his carry-on bag and they let him bring it on board. They had let the standard drop to the minimum.

Meanwhile in Ireland, the buses are thriving, offering clean new buses, frequent service, and free (if slow) WiFi.

Your brother Rob
Galway, Ireland

David Fuller

Thanks Rob. While I haven’t ridden a bus for a while here in Canada, you make good points that apply to all businesses.

The truth of the matter is that according to the National Federation of Independent Business in the U.S., 60 per cent of all businesses starting up either fail or are only marginally profitable. John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco, says that “More than one-third of all businesses today will not survive the next 10 years!” If you’re a business owner, this can be a scary thought.

How business is being done is changing rapidly. Business owners need to be on top of technology changes.

With Greyhound, this might be WiFi but it would also be booking systems, online presence, pricing and payment changes, and equipment upgrades.

Consumers are demanding more and want to pay less. Companies need to either adapt to the new realities that are affecting their industries or die. This has been the pattern of business since the first mango was traded for some maize.

Businesses can thrive in a changing environment. However, this takes visionary leadership. Great leaders understand the need to predict the future and invest in upgrades to their companies that will allow them to be successful.

Owners of businesses need to be looking for threats and opportunities that will affect the business. These include challenges of technology, environment, government, competition, trends, demographics and – at present – trade wars. How you prepare can set your companies up for the future.

Unfortunately, most businesses react rather than prepare. They fail to put time and energy into planning and strategy and as a result seem surprised when changes occur that leave them at the back of the competition pack.

Greyhound’s failure isn’t the result of the fact that they didn’t get WiFi in their buses. It’s because they failed to put the energy and resources into planning for the future. They let complacency rule and their leadership failed to deliver a vision of what could be.

Because of their inability to adapt to the changing environment, Greyhound’s competition has replaced them, resulting in the cancellation of routes that were once profitable.

Unfortunately, there are many examples of businesses that are failing because of their inability to adjust to change.

Greyhound may be a recent example but there will be many more in the near future unless business leaders start planning strategically to take their companies into a future that is brighter than the one that faces them now.

Troy Media columnist David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. Email dave@profityourselfhealthy.com


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