Steve Marr Blog

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Feb 12

Dying Industries

Posted by: Steve Marr

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The key to business is to find out what customers want and sell it to them. Conversely, when customers don’t want something or you can’t compete; avoid that business. 24/7 Wall St. published an interesting article on dying industries: .

Some of these dying industries are fairly obvious, bookstores for example. We know Amazon is a difficult competitor. Stationery is another industry under pressure.  How often do you substitute an electronic card for a paper product? Even the demand for paper office products is lower. I have finally ditched my paper calendar for an electronic version. That’s one small print job gone forever.


We need to keep in mind that change is always occurring. When I lived in Detroit, Michigan, the city was known as the automotive capital the world. Not so much now. What most don’t know is that in the late 1800’s, Detroit was also known as the stove capital of the United States. While there’s been some resurgence in the manufacture of wood stoves for heat, clearly not every house has a wood cook stove. Detroit was also a large manufacturer of carriages. Obviously, this is no longer true.

As the auto industry began to grow and flourish, many workers in these dying industries found new and better jobs in the automotive industry. Those who stayed with vanishing industries did not fare well. 

Another endangered business is bookstores. New and used bookstores are going out of business because we know how difficult it is to compete against Amazon.  I may like the experience of browsing in a good bookstore, but it is just a lot easier to click and buy on Amazon.  Every click is a sale that will not happen in a bookstore.

Take some time to review the dying industries I have listed. If you are in one of these industries, think about making a change before it’s too late. If you sell to these industries, consider how you can build new customer relationships that have potential to grow in the future. 

King Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV) There was a time when every home had a wood stove. There was a time when most people rode a horse, carriage or wagon. However, those times have changed. Trends change; businesses rise and fall. Each of us needs to adjust.  It is always better to change sooner rather than later.

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