Is your business coping with technological change? Struggling to maintain what business you have, but seeming to be facing a losing battle? Perhaps you are feeding yesterday and starving tomorrow as Peter Drucker says.
Check out our thoughts on building innovation.
I get no big thrills from Instagram, how about you? Cheerleading the endless new internet sites doesn’t give me a thrill either. The app du jour bores me terrifically, too. It is impossible just to keep up with the big new things, isn’t it?
In a discussion moderated by Beth Storz, President of Ideas To Go, former eBay CMO Richelle Parham hammered home the importance of constant reinvention among large enterprises. “The taxi industry is a perfect example” of what happens, said Parham. “It’s being disrupted by a company with no taxis and no employees. The incumbents don’t always win—just because they’re big, it doesn’t mean they’ll win.”
Many small businesses thrive on yesterday’s news. People nuzzle up to those who evangelize it. And that group is growing smaller day by day.
Products and apps launch and become mainstream. Then start fading. That’s about when the small business thinks about perhaps thinking how they might use them. They fascinate upon them for 6 to 9 months and then move on. Examples abound around us everywhere. Think blogging, social, video, QR codes.
This is not a sustainable strategy. It’s a scaled down version of digital disruption. It is a dangerous mode of distraction that keeps businesses from making real forward progress for your current and future customers.
I want to tell you about options for future consideration. A different journey.
Technological change … into the future
Less than two years ago, Apple warned its developers: Apps not optimized for the iPhone 5 or Retina displays will be rejected from the app store.
Apple could care less about its developer partners’ issues. Apple cares about progress. They know change is inevitable. They should as they are driving today’s digital jet. To be a part of Apple’s future, developers need to be present in the here and now.
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What if this was the mantra for your small business or those of your competitors? Imagine issuing your current technology partners a similar edict: Update your products to current standards, or else?
Do you grasp the obvious Apples-and-oranges objection? Can you guess the land mines you’d set off if you unplugged the outdated, bandaged software your vendor refers to you as the best solution?
But your alternative options can seem even more worrisome. More training, more cost, more risk. That seems even drearier. But moving into the future with solutions created years ago cripples you. It costs you connections, leads, conversions, time and money. It costs your business. Not exactly what you are looking for is it?
You can’t progress forward when your best offering to current and potential customers is a tangled mess of old ideas.
Time for change
Seriously. I know that sounds dramatic. But how else can you guarantee that the experience you offer consumers will be commensurate with their expectations?
Consider the potential struggles users will experience browsing your site in 2017 if it’s built to 2010 sensibilities and expectations. Suddenly, your stacked content elements, links stuffed tight between gobs of copy, lack of images and video are more than just annoying to visitors – they’ve rendered your site difficult to use and unsightly to view at its best.
Your site will look as non-unique and antiquated as the sites of yesteryear. Unless you do something. Take the initiative now, before you fall further behind.
Let’s consider an example. In 1882, just three years after he had almost literally shocked the world with his revolutionary lighting system, Thomas Edison opened his Pearl Street Station, the first commercial electrical distribution plant in the United States. By 1884 it was already servicing over 500 homes.
Up till that point, electric light was mostly a curiosity. While a few of the powerful elite could afford to install generators in their homes—J.P.Morgan was one of the very first—it was out of the reach of most people. Electrical transmission changed all that, and in the ensuing years much of the country wired up.
Still, as Paul David explained in his paper, The Dynamo and the Computer, electricity didn’t have a measurable impact on the economy until the early 1920’s—40 years later, when we finally knew enough about the new technology and learned how to unleash its potential. The story of how that happened shows why it takes more than a single idea to change the world.
So here are three things that are perfectly reasonable to demand from a digital literate business:
Technological change examples … mobile competency
At least half of your website traffic in the future will be from users on a tablet or other mobile device. The days of thinking about “mobile” separately from your site are over.
Your mobile user experiences need to be every bit as usable as your desktop experiences. Responsive, adaptive, web, native – there are many means – but the end is the thing. It’s got to be stand-out awesome.
Did you know a one-second delay in load times will decrease your conversions by 7%? There are hundreds of studies that dish up tidbits like that. The bottom line: slow kills.
Too many small businesses don’t experiment with new digital infrastructure. They are using what they started with. Or they’re skimping on support because they believe it’s something customers will never see. And, oh, by the way, software is as relevant here (or most so) as hardware.
Pay attention. Test. And demand that your website performance isn’t just about uptime.
Technological change in business … real-time publishing
If your website vendor can’t provide a real-time, SEO-friendly content management solution that enables you to publish content as you wish, then it’s time to have a talk. Every business in this internet age needs the ability to post their content on their terms whenever they see fit. This is a reality of modern-day business. And it is a necessity of new age marketing
There are more, of course. But these come up all the time in our work with small businesses. There’s a lot of work to be done here.
State of things to come
The days of many small businesses of today are mired in a world of havoc and change wrecked by the internet and new technology options. Recruitment. Revenue. Profitability. An ever-growing marketing and ad spend trying to keep up. Training. Wrapping your heads around marketing in this new age.
Your bandwidth is limited – tied up grappling with the realities of your current platforms that were built in the past.
I get it. But nothing in your world will change if you remain anchored in yesterday’s technology or today’s shiniest freebie. Step up to the plate of change.
I feel your pain, but sympathy is a wasted emotion. Dealing with advanced years after they trend is a never-ending cycle of scrambling that creates opportunities for others outside the business to compete with you. That is a sure way to a dead end, isn’t it?
Consider an example of Internet Privacy
Running a business today almost certainly means having a digital presence, and being connected to the Internet. While the benefits of this transformation are many, the Internet privacy and security issues are still a daily challenge, with many solutions in the marketplace to address them.
Now internet service providers can sell the browsing habits of their customers to advertisers. It is a move which critics charge will fundamentally undermine consumer privacy in the US.
Yes, internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are free to track all your browsing behavior and sell it to advertisers without consent. ISPs have access to literally all of your browsing behavior – they act as a gateway for all of your web visits, clicks, searches, app downloads and video streams.
This represents a huge treasure trove of personal data, including health concerns, shopping habits and porn preferences. ISPs want to use this data to deliver personalized advertising.
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It’s time to put your foot down, Apple-style.
The bottom line
These are things that we already know, of course. They are not rocket science and shouldn’t be.
Yet this list of little things simply reminds us of what we have forgotten. Then it is up to us to put these lessons (or reminders) into daily use through persistence and practice.
Remember … your experience and learning trumps all!
Need some help in solving the technology and adaptation challenges for you and your staff? Innovative ideas to help the differentiation with your toughest competitors? Or maybe ways to innovate new products and services?
Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options for innovation workshops to get noticeable results.
Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that struggle gets better every day you learn and apply new innovative ideas.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Do you have a lesson about making your innovation learning better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
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