Does your business remain relevant? By Alan Dankwerth

Does your business remain relevant? By Alan Dankwerth

Market Considerations


I used to be a frequent business traveler (airline). On especially long trips, if I hadn’t brought a book or newspaper to read, didn’t want to do preparatory work or sleep in order to kill time and relieve the boredom, I’d reach into seat pocket in front of me and grab a copy of “SkyMall” magazine. Every airline had them.

It was an adventure flipping through the pages that contained all sorts of “crazy” items, from static electricity “generators” to self-coiling garden hoses. Reading about these devices could soak up at least an hour. I often wondered how many folks actually purchased these quirky products.

Then the airlines added movies on international and long domestic flights, as an alternative to addressing boredom. Over the past several years rules regarding electronics on board have changed dramatically, allowing passengers internet access and the use of tablets and smartphones. Catalogs have bowed to electronic shopping, and entertainment screens have been replacing seat pockets. “SkyMall” had become obsolete.

Just recently, “SkyMall’s” parent company, recognizing the situation, declared bankruptcy and discontinued operations.

Could they have foreseen these changes and turned them into opportunities? It is too late now.

Which are the agents of change that are impacting your business and its products and services? How often do you monitor them?

When was the last time you ventured into your marketplace and listened to the “voice of the customer”? Have you retained your competitive advantage, or are competitors creating greater value for your customers?

Seek the answers to these and other strategic questions so that YOU don’t become obsolete.


Alan Dankwerth is past chair of the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He can be reached at

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