More than two centuries later, Britannica's steadfast focus on product quality, aggressive direct sales, solid growth and generous margins paid off, with annual sales reaching $650 million.
Then came the CD-ROM. Almost out of nowhere, this invention virtually destroyed the printed encyclopedia business. Today, Britannica has rebuilt and gathered momentum to reach 2001 sales of $225 million, a healthy portion of which came from its line of CD-ROM products.
The lessons of advancing technology are not lost on innovative companies, engaged in moving their firms forward. Still, questions remain. How can technology help deliver us from our current economic stall? The answers are different for every company, but like the CD-ROM, existing technology may hold the key to building your business.
Broadband, for example, is a late 20th century invention not yet deployed to its full potential by growing companies. As a technology, broadband Internet service draws thousands of new customers each day. Research by Cahner's In-Stat Group shows that 95 percent of all businesses consider broadband important to their success. Why? Speed.
The FCC considers any connection faster than 200 kilobits per second as high-speed or broadband. Cable service that runs 53 times faster than dial-up is broadband, too. In business, faster speeds equate to faster communications, analysis and decisions.
Apply that formula to the bottom line, and what do you get? Faster return on investment.
High-speed broadband Internet access may well be the fastest way to outmaneuver your competition and force it to react to your company, instead of the other way around.
Source: Dave Therkelson, director, Road Runner Business Class Services, Time Warner Cable, (614) 255-6244.