How the Mighty have fallen

Founded in 1896, A mail order company until 1925, then opening Brick and Mortar stores that quickly became the largest retailer in the world until 1989 Sears & Roebuck is a perfect example of what happens when a business does NOT pay attention to the Business Cycle of the Sigmoid Curve.

Today Sears is owned by K-Mart.  Sales dropped from $41 Billion in 2000 to $15 Billion in 2015.  Long time customers have taken their business elsewhere because of:  “Lack of Customer Service, Poor-Quality products, A lengthy checkout process and Messy “Depressing” stores.”

What happened?  How did our Grandparents most recognized company fall to basically a non-entity over the past two decades?   The answer is the Sigmoid Curve.

You see all organizations, businesses and even Careers have a life cycle that has been called the Sigmoid curve.  During this cycle (which has no time frame – this can be days to years) there are a few traps that business must avoid.  During the growth phase of a company for example the “Founder”  trap occurs,  This is where the Business Founder or Board of Directors or even the CEO think no matter what they do will work.  They lose the edge to be challenged. They lose the willingness to seek advice for what to do next.

The next trap during this phase is the “Midas” Touch where no matter what they do works.  Gold seems to falling from the sky and all one needs to do is put a bucket under it to catch it.  However when these two traps come up how the Owner, CEO, Board of Directors reacts is critical.  Complacency seems to happen.  Unless a CEO, keeps the edge and continually drives for the next cycle to start again, DECLINE is going to happen (See embedded image).

Back to Sears.  It appears this once mighty company fell into these traps and complacency as well as  other issues crept up and got ’em.  Is Sears gong the way of Boarders Book Store? Blockbuster Video?

For more details enjoy this read by:  Haley Peterson:


By – Mark R. Steinke, Elite Business Coach, Focal Point Business Coaching of Pennsylvania