5 worst business plans in recent history

Businesses are run by people just like you and I. That is something we all should keep in mind while we read this article.

So let us take a look at 5 epic business plan fails in recent history, they are in NO particular order.



Kodak, I am quite sure that there is no one who has not heard this name.

The technology company that dominated the photographic film market during most of the 20th century.

Did you know the first ever digital camera was developed by Steve Sasson, a Kodak engineer way back in 1975.

Kodak just let its chance slip to become the global head of the digital photography.

Their business plan only covered film-based photography, so a filmless photography was not in their plan. Hence they just put a pin it the idea and rest is history.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012



All of us have owned a Nokia in our lifetime.

It was such pride to own a Nokia, in short it was an absolutely fabulous phones. By the way, I was a big fan of the brand.

Nokia the first company to create a cellular network in the world with the arrival of the Internet, other mobile companies started understanding how data, not voice, was the future of communication.

Nokia’s business plan did not accommodate the change and they feared that they would alienate their users if they changed too much. So they stuck to improvement of hardware and neglected software.

Nokia overestimated its strength of its brand and believed that they could arrive late in the smartphone game and still succeed.

Now a days you hardly hear any noise from the brand.



This is one of those very rare brand that replaced an actually word by its brand name.

I hardly recollect anyone using the word photocopy, all most all just said Xerox.

Did you know that the first personal computer was invented by Xerox.

It was way ahead of its time and the business plans of Xerox did not want to accommodate this digital space as they felt that nothing would ever replace the black and white of paper print.

The business plan for the future of Xerox was copy machines and they missed the boat to the digital future and to become legendary.

When was the last time you opened the webpage of Xerox?



Again all of us have had a yahoo ID some time in our lifetime, may be, even using one right now.

In 2005 Yahoo was the main player in the online digital advertising market. They undervalued the importance of search engines and they decided to focus on media only.

Their business plan decision to focus more on media meant they neglected consumer trends and a need to improve the user experience.

Yahoo managed to gain a massive number of viewers to view content but failed to make enough of a profit in order to scale.

Did you know Yahoo in 2002 had a deal to buy Google, but the CEO of Yahoo refused to go through with the deal.

Did you know in 2006 Yahoo had a deal to buy Facebook, but when Yahoo lowered their offer, Mark Zuckerberg backed out.

If only their business plan accommodated future trends and prediction better; maybe we would all be yahooing right now instead of googling.



Yet another company that all of us have travelled in! (I personally have never been in one, but it felt good saying it… hahahaa)

The Concorde was a British-French turbojet-powered airline founded in 1976. It used to be one of the fastest and greatest designed aircraft ever.

The average time to fly across the Atlantic is about 10 hours even today, and the Concorde did it in 3 hours 40 minutes way back in 1976.

In its 27 years of operations it had just one crash that too because of some debris on the runway that punctured its Goodyear tyres (USA) that in turn ruptured the fuel tank at almost the end of the runway.

Can you imagine saving over 6 hours in travel time one-way, that’s half a day saved on a round trip! It was the future of airlines!

But their business plan did not include the environment that they were operating in, which meant only few airports could accommodate the concord, which in turn lead to financial challenges.

The Concorde flew its last plane in 2003.


Here is a bonus one – Hummer

It was the action hero’s go to vehicle “The Hummer”.

The Hummer vehicle that was first created for the USA military, was made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger who purchased the first civilian Hummer, cause it was the only vehicle that accommodate his 57 inches chest and 22 inches biceps comfortably and it fitted his action hero image also perfectly.

The business plan was to just sell on the status and celebrity symbol model.

They never even bothered to make it environment friendly or improve its mileage. It give around 5 kms per litre of fuel. 

During the peak of the 2000s energy crises, sales of this vehicle plummeted and sales kept going down and down until the brand shut down in 2009.


In conclusion:

The business plan is the one document that has to be in place and fluid to accommodate changed in business environment and consumer trends and behaviours.

In the words of HG Wells

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”




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