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Resist Decline: Discover how some companies dealt with it

As experienced business leaders, we know that facing periods of decline is an inevitable part of the business landscape. It may be a decline in sales, profits, or market share. However, the key to success is resisting that decline and emerging stronger than ever before. This article will explore how some companies dealt with real decline.

1. Harley-Davidson

In the wake of declining sales and changing consumer preferences, Harley-Davidson, the iconic motorcycle manufacturer, faced significant challenges in the mid-2010s. To turn the company around, Harley-Davidson implemented a few key strategies:

  • Introduce new products: Harley-Davidson introduced new motorcycles, such as the Street 500 and Street 750, that were targeted at younger and more urban riders.

  • Expand into international markets: The company also focused on expanding into international markets, particularly in Asia, where demand for motorcycles was growing.

  • Digital transformation: Harley-Davidson invested in digital transformation, including a new e-commerce platform and mobile app, to improve customer engagement and increase sales.

Through these efforts, Harley-Davidson was able to stabilize its sales and improve its prospects for the future.

2. Under Armour

In the early 2010s, Under Armour, the athletic apparel company, experienced rapid growth and saw its sales increase significantly. However, in 2016, the company's sales growth began to slow down due to increased competition and changing consumer preferences. To address these challenges, Under Armour implemented a few key strategies:

  • Diversify product offerings: Under Armour expanded its product line beyond athletic apparel, introducing footwear, accessories, and connected fitness products.

  • Improve marketing efforts: The company also invested in marketing, partnering with high-profile athletes and sponsoring major sports events to increase brand awareness.

  • Streamline operations: Under Armour focused on improving operational efficiency and cutting costs, including closing underperforming stores and reducing excess inventory.

Through these strategies, Under Armour was able to stabilize its sales and position itself for future growth.

3. Chipotle Mexican Grill

In 2015, Chipotle, the fast-casual restaurant chain known for its fresh ingredients and customizable menu, experienced a significant decline in sales due to a series of food safety incidents. To turn the company around, Chipotle implemented a few key strategies:

  • Improve food safety: The company invested in new food safety protocols and training programs to prevent future incidents and restore customer trust.

  • Innovate menu offerings: Chipotle introduced new menu items, such as queso and chorizo, to attract new customers and increase sales.

  • Digital transformation: The company also focused on improving its digital capabilities, introducing online ordering and a mobile app to make it easier for customers to order and pay.

Through these efforts, Chipotle was able to regain customer trust and stabilize its sales, setting the stage for future growth. In conclusion, these companies have demonstrated that with the right strategies and mindset, it is possible to overcome periods of decline and emerge stronger than before. By diversifying product offerings, investing in marketing and digital transformation, and focusing on operational efficiency, companies like Harley-Davidson, Under Armour, and Chipotle were able to stabilize their sales and position themselves for future growth.

If you're looking for more insights on how to overcome decline, we suggest the following reads:

  • "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries

  • "Good to Great" by Jim Collins

  • "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton M. Christensen

By continuing to learn and innovate, you can set your company up for long-term success, no matter what challenges may arise.


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