Understanding business lifecycles is critical to assessing a business’s ability to succeed and tactics necessary to compete. Industries, products, and businesses evolve through four stages: introduction, growth, mature, and decline. Characteristics of the introductory stage are few competitors, companies market product features, the market is limited and sales are modest, and companies struggle to make a profit as a market materializes. During the growth stage a product gains market acceptance causing sales to increase rapidly, competitors enter the market, and companies begin to create economies of scale. Within the mature stage industry sales continue to grow but at a slower pace, new entrants are still attracted to the industry, competitors focus on gaining market share but usually through consolidation, a few dominant players emerge, and consumers become price sensitive. Characteristics of the declining stage are demand for the product wanes, industry sales decline, companies focus on expense reduction to increase profit, and some companies fail when sales can no longer cover fixed costs or when the company lowers prices.
Innovation plays an important role in how well a company adapts to changing lifecycle stages. Competitive forces from entrance of new competitors, bargaining power of customers and suppliers, threat of substitute products, and competitive rivalries challenge an organization’s survival.
Tribes and Tribal members are usually in businesses that are in the mature stage. There is room to make profit as management and leadership work together to attract customers and deliver products or services in a more efficient manner. Sometimes resources are available to help a tribe compete in the marketplace –like the Tribal C-Store Summit Group (TCSSG). TCSSG is a tribally sponsored non-profit organization created to share best practices, educate workforce, and leverage collective bargaining power in the convenience store industry. The group began in 2009 as a small organization supported by Squaxin Island and Puyallup Tribes and has transitioned into a 30+ member group with aspirations of a national footprint.
Working together is important because Tribes as a proportion of the overall fuel and convenience store industry are small and do not have the same buying power as brands like Chevron, Shell, Costco, Safeway, or Fred Meyer but by working together we can provide career opportunities for our people and attract promotions that excite and provide value to our customers.