If you were to ask any business professional what the most successful industry on the planet is, you would get a different answer depending on what is currently thriving. But this is a reductive and shallow way of examining real success.
Real success should be measured by the industries that, despite never being on top in terms of yearly profits, stocks, or general popularity; is the industry that has never failed, faltered, or shown any signs of slowing down.
So if I had to pick one industry that could be said to fit this criterion, I would pick the Hardware industry. But why is the Hardware industry so successful. And more importantly, what business lessons can be learned from it.
The biggest issue facing any industry in these modern times is the ability to stay relevant. Automation is slowly forcing a lot of businesses to shut and is taking out entire industries. And constantly shifting social trends and environmental issues means a lot of other companies face closure in the future.
But the Hardware industry is adaptable. Automation has only made it stronger, allowing for faster production of tools and equipment, but also allowing them to create more advanced products and keeping up with changing technological trends.
A great example of this is Impact Drivers. To the casual observer, an impact driver might seem like nothing more than a decedent and overly excessive tool to own. But for this who make use of it, it is a great example of how innovation and advancing tech is keeping this industry afloat.
But even as the hardware industry makes use of automation and advancing tech, it never forgets the power of human ingenuity and handcrafting. And that is another huge draw that has kept the industry afloat. It still produces products with people in mind, as opposed to trying to replace them. They could simply move on creating robots that fit in the home and carry out all DIY tasks. But they continue to appeal to people on a human level and they are met with constant success.
The Hardware industry makes most of its money selling tools wholesale to factories and industrial work sites. Construction sites and military organizations. This is another reason this industry does so well. Rather than banking on the spending habits of individual consumers, it is backing itself against other industries. As long as these various industries stay afloat and busy, the Hardware industry is going to stay in profit.
So what are the biggest takeaways from all of this? Firstly, the idea that you have to try to stay relevant to survive. An industry that refuses to get with the times is doomed to failure. The biggest downside to this is that companies will have to invest a lot of money into upgrading and updating their infrastructure and internal technologies to stay modern and competitive.
This might be an issue, and cost a lot more money than you are willing to spend. But heed our warning, if you decide to be cheap and avoid this, you will be left with nothing but a failed company doomed to be forgotten.
The second lesson is to not lose touch with your companies humanity. A company should always put people first. If you aren’t doing this, just give up now because eventually, you are going to fail.
This could be as simple as reaching out to your customers and keeping tabs on them. You also want to make sure you are treating your employees right, paying them a fair wage, and making them feel they are valued and respected. Employees talk. If they are out there bad mounting your company to people, you are going to lose a lot of potential customers.
Lastly, you should consider looking at new avenues in terms of securing business. You might be able to wholesale a product to another industry, thus creating a lot of consistent business. Or maybe you simply need to diversify your target demographic.
There is a lot to be learned about business by simply observing a lot of the various industries around us. So stay vigilant and keep on learning!