In my book The Start-Up Revolution: Fit In or Stand Out, I talk about a silent revolution that we are experiencing. It’s a revolution where the way we connect is far easier today than ever before. This has then changed a lot of businesses and how they do business.
In the book, I look at how the advent of globalisation and technology has eliminated the boundaries of business and how those who embrace the change will succeed and those who maintain the status-quo and keep it safe are left behind. Keeping safe is no longer safe anymore.
When everyone is playing the same game, your execution is critical.
Your shop is like their shop, your bread is like their bread, so we care very much about the care and skill you put into your product or service.
Of course, that still matters, but the revolution means that the way you go to market, the structure of your offering, the model of your business, these are sufficient to cause you to lose, regardless of how you play the game. (And able to give you a huge post if you plan right).
Raymond Ackerman was a huge success, largely because he developed a new retail strategy, not because he was better at running a store than anyone else.
Local bookstores are in trouble, not because they don’t work hard or care a lot, but because they are trapped with expenses that used to be smart (rent for a local storefront) in a world where they are merely ballast.
MTN and Vodacom are complaining to the government that Whatsapp and Skype are destroying their revenue. When was the last time you sent an sms, but I’m willing bet that you sent a whatsapp message or even made a whatsapp call this morning.
Music stores are closing down and the music industry has been disrupted by the revolution of itunes. Why should I buy the entire album if I can download two songs I like.
Running a business with the wrong strategy in the wrong place at the wrong time is possible, but it’s an uphill battle.
The alternative is to think very hard about your model, your costs and the benefits you offer to the people you would like to serve.
You could change from a product to a service offering, from free to expensive, from low service to high service, from storefront to web, from large to small, from spam to permission, from acquiring new customers to delighting old ones, from wide open to invitation only, from dirty to green, from secret to transparent, from custom to mass, or for any of these, vice versa.
Not changing your strategy merely because you are used to the one you have now is a lousy strategy.
What we know for sure in today’s business era is that if the pace of change outside your business is faster than the pace of change inside your business, the end is near.