This post was originally written by Mia Iverson.

The news that Eastman Kodak would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the coming months made me sit back and think. Not only would this be another tragic end for the inventor of Kodak Films, but how could such a powerhouse crash so prematurely? After all, they were once the dominating force when it came to film prints and even led the way for digital photography in the early 2000s. But their downfall began when they didn’t anticipate and recognize new consumer trends; they failed to react with the new information in hand. They failed to adapt to the changing market even though they knew it was inevitable. So how could this have happened with such a juggernaut?

In the 1970s, Kodak owned 90 percent market share in film and 85 percent market share in cameras. They even originally invented the first-ever digital camera in 1975 but failed to capitalize on its creation. But in the 1980s, foreign markets began to emerge as competitors in the film industry and Kodak found itself fighting for market share.

With its steady decline and inability to keep pace with the digital age, finally in 2004, its shares dropped below $1 and Kodak was forced out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Currently, they’re worth 40 cents a share and in the New York Stock Exchange the stock is hovering just above a dollar and barely hanging on.

Kodak stopped making investments in film in 2003.

To cover their losses in the digital age and to keep their obligations to retired employees, the Kodak company ventured into new business ideas but nothing could offset their occurring costs and loyalty to their workers. Soon they became more business to business than business to consumer with their offset printing patents.

Polaroid, Blockbuster, and Borders all filed for Chapter 11 this year and all are casualties of not being able to stay afloat in the changing, technologically filled markets.

A hard lesson is learned.

But this lesson can be transported into any business situation ranging from the next Hollywood blockbuster to running a self storage operation.

You, as a self storage owner and/or operator, must understand the current market and trends and react accordingly. If you’re not tech-savvy, then reach out and hire people who are. After all, just because you don’t know the difference between a cam bolt and a bolt, doesn’t mean you stopped building your dream.

Social media, tech, and those incomprehensible millennials are all here to stay, so what are you as a business entity doing about it? How will you stay ahead of the curve?

Fundamentals include:

  • A strong web presence; your website is your digital front door

  • Familiarity with Google’s many SEO-related (and free!) tools

  • Consistency in social media efforts whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc.

  • Starting an email campaign with the friendly and easy-to-use MailChimp

  • Make connections with other storage owners via social media

In short, don't be afraid to ride the wave of change or you’ll end up like Kodak.


Market Watch, Wall Street Journal and Mashable

photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc