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What Borders Books' Bankruptcy Can Teach CPA Practices About Technology

Author : Kenny Marshall

What may Border's Books have learned prior to its failure that will help you improve your CPA or accounting practice? Border's ruin was brought about by it's own management because it didn't realize the overarching consequences of modern technologies. Not one technology expert was taken aback by Borders' rapid downfall or that Borders' hesitancy to delve into e-books and electronic technologies would bring about the demise of a once great retail powerhouse. For service professionals like accountants, contemporary technologies like websites and productivity software sometimes seems every bit as distant from their core business as they must have to Borders. So pay attention to Borders' missteps! Understanding emerging technologies will protect your firm from facing this kind of crisis.

The last decade has brought technological advances that improve accessibility, communication, and product delivery, making traditional print virtually obsolete. Increased access to information online means less paper production, which is more environmentally friendly. Today's world is online. Almost every reading material you can think of is available electronically. Forward-thinking marketing approaches like compelling websites for accountants are simply imperative.

It's sad. Borders was once a revered company. It had a proven product, a strong brand name and enviable market position. But despite the technological changes over the last decade, Borders chose to pursue a strategy of business as usual. They did not get on board with e-books or e-communication; It simply wasn't their world. They didn't bother to become technologically literate. Their payback didn't take long. The strategy failed and so did Borders. Even their proven marketing tools failed them. Marketing cannot save a bygone business model.

Competitors of Borders, in contrast, were quick to adopt new technologies. They invested in product development because they saw the rewards to come. It wasn't long until their e-book and online sales added significantly to their bottom line. Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble pulled ahead of Borders based on their electronic savvy. Meanwhile, Borders slept. Previous customers of Borders who became excited by the electronic possibilities had to use more accommodating booksellers. Borders found customers who left were nearly impossible to retrieve. (This is the same for every industry.)

Borders realized sales were declining while their competitors were growing, yet Borders clung to its former business model of retail sales and ignored new technological opportunities. In just a matter of months it was easy for customers and bystanders to desert Borders for their astuter competitors. Customers want to deal with a company that shares their interests and vision. Border's heel-dragging continued. It's almost as if they feared technology.

They turned their attention to marketing ploys. That further eroded their business model. Because they were losing money, Borders jacked up prices. Not surprisingly, customers got upset. Amazon and Barnes and Noble, along with other independent booksellers, rejoiced. They welcomed the loyal customers that Borders was losing. At that point, Borders went into a tailspin. They filed for bankruptcy in February 2011.

So what does this have to do with your business? In every industry, businesses must adapt to a changing technological climate or become obsolete. Accountants are similar to any other profession. They must understand new technologies and communications tools such as marketing websites for accountants. For accounting businesses this the primary lesson we can learn from the downfall of Borders Books.

Author's Resource Box

Kenneth T. Marshall is a sales and marketing expert and one-time Vice President of His special area of expertise is marketing small firms by exploiting high-quality websites for accountants. While using online social media and Search Engine Optimization forms the basis of his strategy he also stresses the importance of traditional network marketing and customer service in helping CPAs build their client bases.

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Tags:   websites for accountants, web marketing, marketing for accounting practices

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Submitted : 2011-11-20    Word Count : 618    Times Viewed: 1157