They’d lost seven million dollars in one year…
But after two years of losses, the numbers finally looked better. By the fall of 2010, Starbucks had earned $152 million, compared to that awful loss the year before.
That was a giant shift for a company many thought was dying, and the success was sweet.
But it sure wasn’t easy.
In his book “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul”, Howard Schultz, Starbucks ceo (they don’t use capitals), tells a story of transformation as they went from hanging-on-by-a-thread to alive-and-thriving through the Great Recession.
It’s a powerful story, and a fascinating read.
“Personally, for the first time in a long time, I felt as if we were winning.” He writes. “Not that we had won, because there is never a finish line, but that despite the odds, the brand and our partners were prevailing.”
It was the fall of 2010, and that’s what Schultz thought just before calling investors with long overdue good news.
Schultz, the company’s founder, had stepped away from the CEO role eight years earlier, when everything was going well. Starbucks was opening stores around the globe at an astonishing rate. Profits were steady and always on the increase.
Yet by 2006, he’d begun sensing an intangible change when he visited stores. Something was missing; the customer experience had shifted in ways that he could feel, but not explain. Traffic was down considerably.
Something was just flat off.
And it bothered him.