When your marketplace shifts
It might happen to you.
Many markets have a base (people seeking a solution), a middle (people seeking some originality, something new, something a little better) and a top (educated and passionate consumers willing to go extra miles to get something special).
Here's what happens (imagine travel agents, for example, or the farmers' markets in France):
A. a disruption happens to the marketplace, instantly sucking the base out of the market. When was the last time you called a travel agent? Or, in the case of France, the hypermarche destroyed the need to wait for the weekly market to get some eggs and some carrots.
B. without a base, merchants have to struggle to attract enough business to stick around and to invest in getting better. Many of these merchants either don't have the skills, the resources or the good taste to build a business without the base. They slowly, and painfully, disappear.
C. A few flee to the top. These are the folks with great heirloom tomatoes for sale, or the ones who specialize in high-end cruises or adventure travel. But it's tough going, because without the base and the middle, every sale is on a knife's edge, every customer realizes how much power she has.
The marketplace disruption puts huge pressure on any merchant who merely created a commodity. This means vineyards, graphic designers, photographers, etc.
When you see it coming, there are only two choices:
Run like hell to a new market, or,
Move up, faster and more boldly than anyone thinks is rational.