Box Office Business Lessons: Storks

August 16, 2017 by Karen Que

These days, it’s not enough to corner the market in your industry. One day, you’re on top and your name is synonymous with success. The next, you’re scrambling to stay relevant and adapt to change.

The Storks of Stork Mountain know this lesson all too well. For years, storks were known for their baby delivery service. That is, until their CEO discontinued baby delivery in favor of the more-profitable package delivery service. Unfortunately, the last baby, a girl named Tulip, was never delivered, leaving a black mark on their record.

It’s been 18 years since Stork Mountain shut down its baby factory to become Cornerstore, and Junior is ready to take the reins. But first, he has to deal with Tulip, who has been a thorn in Cornerstore’s side since she was born. When a mix-up leads to a new baby being created, Junior and Tulip have to team up to deliver her home safely.

I do love Cornerstore’s tagline: Make a plan. Stick to the plan. Always deliver. The only problem is everything doesn’t always go as planned.

  1. Every business has to make tough decisions to stay relevant.

It’s important for businesses to keep up with the trends but also to stay profitable. The storks could’ve stayed in the baby business, but that wasn’t really where the market was going. Everyone wanted their packages delivered quickly, overnight, and who would be better at that than storks?

This happens to businesses all the time. Since the introduction of smartphones and digital cameras, camera film has all but disappeared. And yet, Kodak is still in business. It has transitioned from selling traditional cameras and film to selling everything from printers and printing supplies to eyeglass lenses and light bulbs. They continue to innovate and refuse to stay stagnant in the market.

  1. Sometimes you just have to let employees go.

Tulip desperately wanted to contribute to Cornerstore, but there’s only so much a human can do in a business designed for birds. Every idea she came up with caused more destruction than anything else, so all of her efforts were wasted. Junior thought it would be safe to stick her in the pretend mail room, but even that ended in disaster.

When an employee isn’t working out in a particular position, sometimes they’re just not in the right role. So how do you find the right role? Have a really honest discussion about their strengths and weaknesses in their current position, and see if you can match them up with a different one.

But sometimes employees aren’t a fit for the culture because they have the wrong skill set or an attitude problem. It’s important for a company to have clear communication with the employee and give them a chance to fix whatever’s going wrong. If that doesn’t help, then it’s better if the employee and employer part ways. This gives them the opportunity to move on to find a situation where they can be happy and successful.

  1. Conferences bring value.

I really love Stork-con, the massive conference where the storks come together to hear about what’s next for Cornerstore. Conferences like these bring value to the company because you can show investors and employees the innovations you’ve been working on in R&D. People get the chance to try the new products and give feedback for the first time.

Employees can be motivated and invigorated while attending a conference. As everyone comes together, they are all focused and excited about the future. It’s also a great opportunity to network with other people in the industry and find businesses to partner with.

  1. Make a plan. Stick to the plan. Always deliver.

In the end, the storks went back to their roots and started delivering babies again. This doesn’t mean their package delivery service was a failure. They were simply following their market.

After you pivot away from your core mission to keep up with the trends, it can be really profitable to eventually retract and return to your original business. It either becomes trendy again, or people who missed it the first time want to try it. It happens all the time. Bell-bottom jeans came back as flares. Even Amazon is trying its hand at selling books and products in a brick and mortar store, after putting thousands of bookstores out of business.

It’s sound advice to have a plan for your business, but when your plan’s not working, you have to be willing to alter it. The plan is a guideline, not an absolute.

What classic product or service would you like to see brought back?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *