The Secrets of Built to Last Companies

Why the mighty fall and how to build a company that lasts?

Here are some interesting data about big companies and their survival rate. 70% of the Fortune 500 companies listed in the year 1955 are now extinct. 230 of the Fortune 500 companies that existed in 1980 are no more – that’s 46% extinction rate.  Of those on the 2000 list, 30% have already disappeared. Only 71 companies from the original Fortune 500 list published in 1954 remain on the list today.

Why did this happen. Answers point out to the facts that the companies that did ‘the right things for too long’ has been disrupted. Clinging to comfort zone, risk aversions, resistance to technology and change, unable to cannibalize their own business, have made many companies pay a huge price in the long term. Today the corporate mortality rate is increasing and challenges are rising even higher for digital companies in comparison to their older industrial physical counterparts. In a technology landscape, imitation is easier and there are less barriers to entry ; it doesn’t take longer to come up with ‘me too’ products and services.

Just having a technological edge will not guarantee you market leadership. Just think of skype, facetime, viber, whatsup, jitsi. google hang out; all are battling in the video chat area. Therefore companies that boast on their technology prowess must create a strategy that will integrate both technology and physical products into their business model. Examples of digital-physical hybrids include Tesla, which has expertise in batteries and manufacturing, and Amazon that has technology as well as a vast network of physical warehouses, or iphone with their hardware distinction and iApps.

Secondly, today companies grow exponentially, which means if you are not able to build a strong network faster, then you are vulnerable to further growth. Think of Facebook, whatsapp and instagram’s growth. They were exponential in nature and Facebook’s one billion-user base is a great competitive advantage.

Thirdly to build a company that last, you must be committed to continuous and discontinuous innovation. Today the market leadership does not belong only to the first but also to the fastest. Therefore you must be adaptive, resilient and nimble to stay relevant in the ever-changing business landscape.

Paul Robinson is India’s leading Keynote Speaker and Business Strategist. Paul’s workshops and keynotes can help you implement change effectively in your organisation. To learn more about Paul please visit

2 thoughts on “The Secrets of Built to Last Companies

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