Running a successful business often means being open to change.
You might think you have a great idea for a product, but your customers could think otherwise. And if they do, you have to be willing to listen. Likewise, if you’re part of a changing industry or notice a hole in a particular market, being able to adapt can be a huge benefit.
Change can certainly be a positive step. But it can also be a warning sign. Companies that constantly change their whole business concept could lack direction, planning, and leadership. And even if the changes are part of a larger strategy, employing too many of them can be confusing.
One example of a constantly changing company is Fab.com, which was sold earlier this month for just $7 million in cash and $8 million in stock. The company’s future once looked incredibly promising. It even raised $325 million from various investors. But then it collapsed.
According to Danielle Sacks, who wrote about the fall of Fab for Fast Company, one of the many reasons behind the failure is the company’s many reinventions. It started out as a gay social networking site, then transitioned to a flash sale site for design products. That’s where many began to take notice of Fab. And the changes didn’t stop there. Sacks wrote:
“But after the flash sale site became an e-commerce site for designers, then morphed into a private label design retailer sourcing from Asia, and then turned into a customized furniture site, Fab began to look more like a business parody than a company with an actual strategy.”
While updates and changes can often help businesses refresh and build an even stronger brand, constant changes can be confusing for customers, investors, and everyone else involved. And even when major changes are necessary, they take a lot of planning and strategy. So if a business goes through too many major changes in a row, like Fab did, it’s a sign that not much planning is happening.
Fab founder Jason Goldberg told Fast Company in 2013:
“I would say that a lot of Fab in the last 18 months has been go, go, go, go, and we’ll figure it out later.”
The many reinventions weren’t the only contributors to Fab’s downfall, but they certainly didn’t help. So before you jump into a huge change for your business, consider if it’s really necessary or if there may be better ways to address problems with your brand.