Change is Inevitable

The gift and gift basket industry is constantly evolving.  Unless we want to be left behind, we must take the risk and evolve as well.

Just think of how gift basket design has changed through the years and even the fact that cutesy is no longer the design type of choice.  Cherie Reagor introduced those gorgeous gift baskets filled with beautiful silk florals when she was chosen  “Designer of the Year” for two years in a row at the Jubilee conventions.  That became the style of choice.  Many who chose to follow failed to realize,however, that you couldn’t put most of the money into expensive enhancements while cutting way back on actual products in the basket.

As a result of that, as well as simply the laws of evolution, the pendulum has swung back once again to fewer enhancements and more product.  Evolution is continuing with the introduction of gift boxes instead of baskets.

Cutesy themes have, and will always be, popular for those one-of-a-kind unique gifts for personal giving.  These are the baskets that are fun to create but also time consuming.  But even those themes continue to evolve as the world, and the people in it, change.

The Evolution from Good to Great

Evolution of a business is much more than just changing designs.  Evolution should be the natural state of all businesses.

When we start our business, we are told to set goals for the future. Those goals give us something to strive for. But goals, like our world, are never static.

None of us know the future and what will result in the need for evolution and change in our business.  But there are usually four main reasons:

Changes in Technology—  During the thirty years that I have operated my gift basket business, these changes have come fast and furious.  The building of my website began with FrontPage which is no longer available.  Changing to WordPress predated the existence of platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix, 3dCart, and all the other platforms available today.

And, of course, the early communication groups on AOL and Prodigy evolved into forums and today into Facebook groups.

Going even further back, when I published my statewide newspaper, I printed the columns on a dot-matrix printer, cut them apart, waxed the back of each one, and carefully placed them on a large template to be taken to the printer.

The other three major reasons for changes have all occurred as a result of the unexpected pandemic.  They are Changes in the Market, Changes in Customer Behavior and Disruptive Events.

Most markets operate in cycles that are predictable.  We see this as demand for our products increase during particular times of the year and usually depend on holidays.

But not all market changes are predictable.  The 2008 market crash should have been predictable if we were watching what was happening in the real estate market as
prople bought more home than they could afford with loans that didn’t look at income or ability to pay.  But even that change took most of us by surprise and those who were dependent on the real estate industry suddenly had to put on the brakes and make changes.

The Covid pandemic, beginning in 2020 and still existing today, has created new changes in our markets and how and what customers buy.  This has required us to take a new look at our products, designs, and who we market to.   Former customers were no longer employed or were working from home.   Customers were suddenly buying more gifts for medical professionals and other first responders.  Get Well and Sympathy baskets were suddenly selling more than ever before.

As the pandemic eases, the markets are evolving once again.

When changes occur slowly as the design styles happened, it is easier to experiment and make small changes.

But larger changes make us more nervous.  I’ll admit I was hesitant to discontinue the digital magazine that I had been publishing for the industry for 13 years.  It, too, had evolved from a 40 to 50 page bi-monthly magazine to a 20 –25 page monthly publication, until the need for it came to an end.  Each of these changes made me nervous as they were not small changes but major ones affecting both my time and income.

Switching my ecommerce site and shopping cart from Frontpage to a different platform and replacing the Ning forum with a Facebook group were other changes that made me nervous.

But I was committed to my gift basket business as well as to you, the readers, and saw the necessity for the evolution.  Sure it would be easier to leave things as the status quo. But we teach our children to always do their very best.  We need to do the same.  Listening to you and learning as we go along has given us the ability to see where we can improve things. And the part of my business devoted to you is evolving once again.  You can see the change here.

Change is inevitable. Those who embrace change usually succeed. Those who fight it often become extremely frustrated and eventually fade away.

One of my favorite books regarding change is called “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. It is a delightful fable about two mice who reacted differently to change. It concisely illustrates the best ways to embrace change.

How about your business?  Are you constantly looking at it to see where changes are needed, how evolving technology requires change, and what you can and should do differently?

Change quote

For more information about starting and growing your business, check out Gift Basket Business INSIDER

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