“Why do companies need to grow?” — A testament to market behaviour

I had an interesting conversation while visiting my mum this past weekend. She was describing the pros and cons of a micro-grocery delivery service called Milk Basket that she’s been using for a while. ‘Milk Basket’ I understand is named after the age-old milk delivery service (‘Doodhwala’ or Milkman) where the farmers used to literally bring their cows and deliver fresh milk at your doorstep once upon a time. This would happen in time for breakfast prep before 6 or 7AM. Milk Basket has more SKUs than just milk, however their USP is the early morning delivery, so you can get your day started — includes eggs, bread etc. But it is not a supermarket replacement by any means.

She compared that to their much larger competitor Big Basket (BB), that is also a home grocery delivery service with thousands of SKUs. They are an actual supermarket substitute. One key difference she pointed on why she’s switched ordering (partially) to Milk Basket is because she doesn’t like the two-hour delivery window that BB forces customers to choose.

“I don’t want to wait around for 2 hours from 11AM to 1PM, assuming they will come at either 11.15AM or 12.45PM”

Here is a 60 year old consumer (but you look 48, Ma) who has been through many evolutions of customer growth. She has been part of the telegram era, used the old rotary dial phones and snail mail, used faxes and emails at work and today actively uses WhatsApp and Facebook. She has gone through a stage where we needed to wait weeks (sometimes months) for a gas cylinder replacement or a telephone line installation. But now, this consumer’s expectation is to maximise her 120 minutes while waiting for milk to be delivered before she wakes up every morning.

While my mum is one of a kind, there are tech savvy seniors out there, and it is obvious that consumer behaviour is constantly evolving. I feel saddened to hear people complaining about millennials and GenZ wanting things a certain way. Unfortunately for the newer generations, efficiency is all there is and today’s world is all they know. In fact, we need further optimisation to keep businesses afloat.

Coming to business growth…

I bring all of this up because of a strong recall to a distinct conversation during my MBA course work last year. One of my classmates asked our Strategy professor — “ Why do companies need growth? Why is that the supreme goal? “ The professor opened up the conversation for an open-ended debate which lead me to take away this one very specific answer:

“The Customers are the ones that are growing. Companies are simply trying their best to keep up with the customers, and if they don’t keep up, they’re going to get run over while customers switch away”

I do not believe that this is anything new or a derivative of modern capitalism. This is the exact reason why after cavemen discovered fire, they began to use it for protection, cooking and to create bricks for stronger shelters. This evolution is also the reason why innovation in agriculture began and nomadic societies began dwindling.

Fast forward a few millennia to current day, this behaviour is exactly what Jeff Bezos is talking about when he refers to Amazon culture as ‘customer first’ and everyday being ‘Day One’. You cannot expect customers to continue using the telegram when their tastes have evolved into wanting Milk Basket early morning deliveries. This is our fundamental human nature.

Industry and businesses have to constantly keep up and grow, not just in revenue terms, but in the quality of offering to fit what customers need.

Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

Which brings me to the final and only real points I want to make here:

  • Is education evolving to meet what we need?
  • Do we still need to be taking in information the same way we always used to?
  • Are education systems simply delivering what they are used to delivering — ‘Doers’ rather than ‘Thinkers’?
  • Are we aware that we need to change within ourselves first, and then expect the delivery systems to change for us?

Tell me what you think. Because I believe we need the future of education now!

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Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

Lokyatha is an education focused initiative to enable young adults to live better, more fruitful lives by delivering real world life skills.

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