South Florida Hospital News
Friday February 28, 2020

test 2

December 2007 - Volume 4 - Issue 6



What Business Are You In?

You may say that’s an easy question to answer! Asking industry leaders this question seems basic and simplistic. Is it? But, this is one of the classic questions that should be answered in depth for any business to survive and prosper in this turbulent marketplace. Many years ago the Railroad companies were faced with serious financial problems – they were losing their market share for passenger travel and freight business. The trucking industry was making headway delivering freight across the nation and airlines were taking away a good portion of their passenger and freight business.

As the story goes, the Railroad industry leaders called upon consultants to find ways of dealing with declining revenues and thus save their business. After studying the situation, the consultants asked the railroad tycoons the question, "What business are you in?" "We are in the railroad business," they answered, "and we certainly didn’t need a consultant to ask us that." Finally the consultants told them that the problem was that they were not in the railroad business but they are in the, "Transportation Business." The Railroad execs were presumed to say, "What else is new?" What the consultants were trying to convey to the railroad executives is that being in the ‘transportation business’ meant that they would have to compete with the airlines and trucking companies. They also advised them to invest in ground and air transportation, by buying an existing trucking company or airline or organizing a new company. Marketing by other means of transportation than theirs would be crucial in these changing times. How about B& O Airlines & Overland Trucking services? But lo and behold the railroad folks would not take that advice and the rest is history! Although the railroad industry today remains part of the transportation industry, total track-miles have fallen from 319,000 in 1970 to 170,000 and trucks still have to be called on to get most goods to a final destination." (

Think of the possibilities if railroad companies acquired other means of transportation to relate to the changing times. The railroad companies that remained have not shared in the growth of the booming transportation business. The railroad industry was on the wrong track!

It is time that hospitals must redefine their business and ask themselves the question: What business are you in?

Gerald Sherman, MBA, DBA, of Sherman & Perlman, LLC, has over 25 years of experience in Sales & Marketing. For more information, visit or call (561) 715-2788.
Share |