By: Jim Verdonik
I'm an attorney with Ward and Smith PA. I also write a column about business and law for American Business Journals, have authored multiple books and teach an eLearning course for entrepreneurs. You can reach me at JFV@WardandSmith.com or JimV@eLearnSuccess.com. Or you can check out my eLearning course at http://www.elearnsuccess.com/start.aspx?menuid=3075or http://www.youtube.com/user/eLearnSuccess or purchase my books at http://www.amazon.com/Jim-Verdonik/e/B0040GUBRW
My last several articles have been about Zombie Businesses. This is the last in a series of Articles celebrating April as Zombie Apocalypse month.
So, what's a Zombie Business?You know what I mean - businesses that no one in their right mind would start today, but that continue to exist because no one will put them out of their misery. So, they continue to walk the earth powered by owners, managers and employees who can't (or won't try to) find something better to do.
If you have ever worked for a Zombie Business, you know how depressing that is. No one ever gets excited about new opportunities. The focus is in milking the last pennies from existing customers who no other businesses are targeting. And forget about investing in new products or services.Some readers have asked for examples of Zombie Businesses.
A couple of weeks ago I read about a classic Zombie Business - the US Postal Service.The Post Office is desperately trying to reduce expenses. But a few weeks ago Congress vetoed a very sensible proposal by the Post Office that it eliminate Saturday deliveries.
Then, Americans would only receive junk that they don't read five days a week instead of six days a week. Naturally Congress rejected this, because there are three 110 year old ladies who don't know how to read email. Or was it the tens of thousands of post office workers and their families who vote and work in political campaigns? You be the judge.Apparently, Saturday deliveries are sacred to some voters. Who knew? Do many people in your neighborhood wait by their mail boxes on Saturday afternoons?
Refusing to cut delivery services is like refusing to throw a life preserver to someone who is drowning because it's Sunday and a day of rest.That got me thinking about why the US Postal Service is a poster boy for Zombie businesses. Having outlived its initial purpose, it's condemned to walk through its afterlife doing things no real business would do.
Was the Post Office always this way?If not, how did the Post Office become a Zombie?
To answer these questions, let's trace the US Post Office through four basic stages that many businesses go through:
· Success Creates Expansion.
· Shrinking Market Share
· Death Spiral