Losing Bids and Growing A Company

An article by David Brooks on May 21, 2014


Over the weekend we took a short vacation to Niagara Falls, Canada. As you would expect, it was awesome. But that’s another story. While we were on a tour, our guide explained to us that the boat trips were being operated by a new company, the Hornblower. And this is where it gets interesting for people like me who run a business.

For 165 years, the boats were operated by a company called Maid of the Mist. 165 years! Let that number sink in.

On the United States side of the water, Maid of the Mist was still running. In Canada, however, Maid of the Mist lost the bid to a new company called Hornblower. Hornblower, presumably a younger company, won out and was now in full operation. Apparently they have a lot of great ideas, like operating a VIP boat that can move quicker, or dinner cruises etc.

How does that apply to us in the service industry? Well, it goes to show you that at any given time you can lose a longstanding client for any number of reasons. And then, sometimes, even if you’re doing a decent job, your client might be wanting something else. You see, it seems to me that Maid of the Mist was comfortable. They rested on their existing success, probably never updated their operating policies, lacked vision for the future, etc. All of that is guesswork on my part, of course, but it’s probably not far off.

Originally I was going to write this as a condolence piece for anyone who has ever lost a client. But in writing it, I realized the bigger message is not only of condolence but in encouragement to continually perfect your offerings as a professional or a business. While we can only hope our businesses last 165 years, it’s far better to have a great business for whatever lifespan it actually has.

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About David Brooks

David Brooks is the owner of the small creative studio, Northward Compass, based out of Orlando, Florida. He writes electronic and ambient music as Light The Deep, and fantasy stories about a place called Elerien.

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