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Adapt or Parish

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Juicy Fruit®, Doublemint®, Spearment® ring a bell? We’ve all chewed them. Wrigley’s gums are a part of almost everybody’s childhood. And the story of William Wrigley Jr is nothing short of inspiring.

What budding entrepreneur hasn’t been bored at school? Expelled at a tender age, Wrigley Jr went to work in his father’s soap factory. But with a flare for sales, it wasn’t too long before Wrigley Jr went out on his own, starting his own company selling soap. With a stroke of entrepreneurial genius, he did something different to dad and added a bonus freebie of baking powder to every sale. And sales boomed. But once he realised the baking powder was more popular than the soap, he switched to selling baking powder with a different freebie thrown in. You guessed it. A stick of gum with every sale. Very soon he noticed the gum sales out did the baking powder and so he switched track again to producing his own line of gums.

The thing is Wrigley Jr never started out selling gum. But as he saw new opportunities he grabbed them. Through times of economic depression and war, Wrigley continued to adapt and reinvent his products. Taking calculated risks with marketing while his competitors pulled in the belt. And they paid off. Where other company’s sales dropped, Wrigley’s thrived.

Adaptable and tuned in to the wants of his market Wrigley Jr’s success as an entrepreneur means that his gums are still available today. Over 120 years later.

Adapt or perish. And it’s as true in business as it is in other areas of life. Wrigley Jr was a genius at it. Kodak stuffed it. And Australia Post – well time will tell. The thing is as times change, new markets open and old markets close, technology jumps ahead at lightening speed and the traditional ways of doing business become a thing of the past, we must adapt in order to survive. I’ve heard it said it’s like turning a big ship around. First you’ve got to be looking ahead and see the need. Then you’ve got to take action. Then you’ve got to be patient while it all comes together. Sometimes easier said than done.

One thing is for sure. Change happens. And there will always be upturns and downturns.

Will your business survive?

How can you adapt and thrive?

About Paul Blackburn

An internationally acclaimed author and leader in the human potential movement, Paul has instructed seminars for groups ranging in size from 6 to 600 and as a guest speaker has spoken to audiences of more than six thousand. He has taught in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the US. Paul has appeared on talk back radio and television shows including Getaway; A Current Affair and The Midday Show. Paul has a tremendous educational message. He knows how to teach and motivate people to be more effective in every aspect of their lives. Due to his reputation as a world class presenter, the Adult Education Faculty of the Australian National University conducted a study of one of Paul's public seminars with a view to gain greater insights into their own teaching strategies. Paul has survived aggressive cancer, and successfully built four businesses, a strong marriage and a loving family. According to his wife Mary, Paul's strive for improving himself and helping others comes from "his love of life and his incredible love for his family in particular but people in general". She says he is committed to making a difference in the world, whatever it takes. And he does. Paul has a great ability to spark interest and inspire people from all walks of life. In the words of one of his students: "It is not possible to participate in one of Paul's seminars and resist change. Paul has the ability to inspire even the most negative person to change their life for the better." Time with Paul Blackburn may be all it takes to get a shift in thinking big enough to cause a life changing experience. His down-to-earth style is your guarantee that you will be hearing no nonsense, workable solutions to the difficult questions in life.

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