Have you heard the Sphinx’s riddle? “What has one voice, but is 4-legged, 2-legged, and then 3-legged?” The answer to the riddle is a human- who crawls as a baby, stands tall as an adult, and then walks with a cane in old age. Just like humans, businesses have a life cycle. There are 9 stages a business goes through over the span of its life. They are; newborn, infant, toddler, teenager, young adult, adult, senior, death, and rebirth. We’re going to use the life cycle of Toys R Us as an example of this concept.
1948- Charles Lazarus opened a baby furniture store in Washington DC, right when the Baby Boom started up.
1957- Lazarus opened up his first store Toys R Us- stocked only with toys. He modeled the layout after supermarkets. Items were stocked high on shelves and there was an incredibly wide assortment to choose from. Before the turning of the year, he had 4 stores.
1969- He introduces Geoffrey the giraffe as the Toys R Us brand mascot.
1974- Interstate files for bankruptcy and the court puts Lazarus in charge of the restructuring. He ends up selling off unprofitable divisions.
1978- Toys R Us becomes a public company, trading on the NY stock exchange
1983- The first Kids R Us opens!
1994- There are 1,000 Toys R US stores worldwide
1996- The first Babies R Us opens!
1998- For the first time, Walmart beats out Toys R Us for the #1 spot for US toys sellers
2001-The company buys 190-acre American Cyanimide corporate campus in NJ for $36 million and relocates there in 2003
2015-Toys R US beats its first competitor FAO Schwarz, which is forced to close if Fifth Avenue store
2016-Revenue was at its peak; $11.5 billion
Sep 1, 2017- Toys R Us is forced to file for Bankruptcy
Mar, 2018- Toys R Us tells their employees that it will be liquidating and close or sell all 800 stores
Aug 2018- Worldwide, all 1500 stores are closed
The new kids, the “Tru Kids” brand is born. Keeping its much-loved mascot Geoffrey, they also reopen 2 stores in the US (though they are smaller).
Businesses start out small, but have the opportunity to grow to international proportions if they plan it right. There are several mistakes that business owners make that causes their business into an early grave. They stop innovating and marketing. Owners often don’t think about their Exit Strategy until it’s too late. Adding to that, most owners fail to Build to Sell their business. Many business’ financials are a mess and not in proper order. Most owners have absolutely no idea what their business is worth. And the final mistake; owners don’t operate their business on all ST 6P’s™.
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