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Is Your Business Ready For These Game-Changing Developments?

You do not need me to tell you how quickly things are changing these days. Perhaps the best example is a mobile phone…In just a few short years, that little box in our hand is now able to replace:

  • A high-powered digital camera.
  • A shelf full of books.
  • A daily newspaper.
  • A shelf full of DVDs, CDs and records.
  • A television, DVD player, CD player and radio.
  • A scanner.
  • Bank cards and ATM machines.
  • A GPS device.
  • Road maps.
  • A voice recorder.
  • Loyalty cards

The mobile phone has been a game-changing development for many businesses – as business owners we now have to consider ‘optimising for mobile’, and the fact that the first point of contact with our business for many of our customers, clients and audiences is via a mobile device. And this when so many businesses haven’t even got themselves properly online yet :-O

The following are three more developments which have the potential to change the game for us all, and the prudent, visionary business owner has these in their sights (or at least in their business plans)…

#1 The Future of Work

Four-hour workdays, remote workforces, increasing numbers of freelancers, ROWE (Results-Only Work Environments)…there are many, many trends in the way we work that – if they all converge at once – could signal a drastic change in the careers of the future.

While on the one hand this is a positive thing – potentially more freedom, more control and no big boss man to answer to – it also has some game-changing ramifications.

Everyone is going to have to get a LOT better at managing their own careers – gone are many of the traditional ‘career for life’ paths which means skills in personal branding, entrepreneurship, self-employment and marketing are going to be even more crucial than they are today.

How This Affects You As A Business Owner

What that means however, if you already run your own business or are just starting out, is that there will be a LOT more competition for clients and customers than ever before. Your business needs to be ready for this which means your marketing strategy and systems need to be in place and working.

If you’re already struggling, imagine how it will be when colleagues, friends and family are potentially running a competing business and offering their freelancing services to the same audience you are currently. Now is the time to do something about this…

  • Define clear, consistent and stand-out branding messages.
  • Focus on a well-defined audience who you are ideally positioned to serve.
  • Start forging relationships with key people of influence in your network to help build a strong referral engine for your business.
  • Get all the basic foundations in place to help you execute your marketing strategy – email marketing, social media channels, advertising and/or PR…whatever combination you’ve chosen for your business.
  • Get your marketing working so you’re already building a healthy pipeline of people wanting to

#2 The Speedy Lifecycle of Tools

If you’re just getting used to Instagram or Whatsapp or even Twitter, you’re already behind the curve! People are moving to Snapchat, Periscope, Meerkat and Blab, and even those are likely to be superseded by other tools in a matter of weeks or months.

This is not a new phenomenon though it’s getting worse (or better, depending upon your point of view!). Just take a look at Product Hunt to see quite how many tools are released on a daily basis. This is not going to change either – new tools are going to keep coming at you for quite a while yet.

How This Affects You As A Business Owner

What this means is that you need to get comfortable with continually assessing whether the tools you’re using are the best for the job, and ensuring your business is flexible, agile, secure, scalable and sustainable enough to be able to switch between tools when needed. It means:

  • You need to decide upon a core set of tools to drive your mission-critical business foundations; I call this your business engine. This set of tools should be relatively stable and something you’re happy to commit to for the longer term (versus switching frequently).
  • For other key functions in your business – client management, email marketing etc. – it’s worth selecting tools that have a solid history and reputation. It’s possible to change these tools but it isn’t always a comfortable process.
  • For non mission-critical functions, feel free to experiment and explore; this is where you can give yourself the flexibility to switch things up.

If you’re already a technophobe and feel you’re being left behind, this momentum is only going to accelerate and leave you even further behind; NOW is the time to get yourself up to speed (even at a basic level), so that your business won’t be outpaced by the technology necessary (or not) to run it.

#3 Increasing Globalisation

As a relative veteran of location independence and working in a global manner for the past 10+ years, I’ve seen an increase in the number of tools, resources, platforms and jobs to enable people to work more globally without the friction there once was. Again, this is likely to increase though I suspect more regulation will be introduced as countries realise that physical borders have less of an impact in the online world of work.

How This Affects You As A Business Owner

While globalisation no doubt expands your horizons and world, it also has an impact on your business that isn’t all 100% clear. Things that you’ll have to be more conscious and aware of include:

  • How to find, communicate and connect with customers and clients in a different country to you.
  • How to navigate time zones, different languages and different cultural working practices.
  • How to scale and grow your business with a workforce that may not be in the same country as you.
  • How to figure out the practicalities of running a global business, such as taxes, regulations and more.
  • How to navigate and stand out in an even bigger competitive field than just your local, regional or national industry. Though this of course depends upon how you look at it, and you may find even more people to collaborate with 😉

The combination of these three trends is pointing to a HUGE shift in the work landscape in the not-so-distant future; for existing business owners, NOW is the time to start future-proofing your business and get your house in order.

If you address these developments NOW in your strategic plan, your business will be in a great position to take advantage of these trends, rather than being threatened by them. Which would you prefer?

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