Turn and face the strange


Change is inevitable, do you embrace it?

A few notable dates:

1990 – Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web
1993 – The Mosaic web browser was published allowing graphics and text to mix on a page for the first time
1995 – eBay launched
1998 – PayPal first appeared
2007 – 1st iPhone released

In a little over 20 years, less than a generation, the way the World does business – and I do mean the World, has completely changed. In many ways the real change has taken place in less than 10 years – since smartphones and tablets have become widely adopted.

In many ways, the changes have been so significant, so fundamental that it is difficult to look back and remember what it was like before the dawning of the Digital Revolution.

Can you imagine what it would be like not to be able to order almost anything online and have it delivered to your door the next day, maybe even the same day?

Can you imagine not being able to access your bank account from anywhere in the world, at any time of day?

Can you remember a time before smartphones were everywhere and even primary/elementary school age children not only knew how to use them but had their own?

Can you remember the time when people asked you a question and you either didn’t know the answer or decided to go to a library to find out rather than saying: “Hold on a moment, I’ll just Google that?”

Can you remember the time when people went out and talked to each other rather than stared at their phone?! – Sorry, that last one just slipped in and makes me sound really old!

How has your business changed in the last 10 or 20 years? Many businesses see themselves as immune from change and indeed can survive without embracing any revolutionary change but there are few that could not either increase their turnover, profit or efficiency though looking at their operations through the eyes of one of those smartphone wielding youngsters.

Some examples serve (sorry) to prove a point. Fast food delivery services such as GrubHub, Eat24Hours and Seamless in the US and JustEat, Hungry House and Deliveroo in the UK show how traditionally moribund industries can embrace entrepreneurial change to deliver (no pun intended) business growth.

The use of crowd funding sites like Kickstarter and Crowdcube allows innovators to circumvent traditional sources of funding; banks and venture capitalists and gets committed, enthusiastic investors who can then turn out to be vocal advocates of the finished product after launch.

Some businesses have complete eschewed the traditional market place and exist purely online. For those businesses that are successful, this is an attractive model due to the extremely low operating costs compared to the more traditional business, especially delivering a digital product where the costs involved with ‘inventory’ are close to zero.

Many traditional businesses are not left out in the cold and display noteworthy innovation. Some of the more successful companies embrace the physical and the virtual marketplace with a store/shop/depot backed up with an online presence either a bespoke corporate website or possibly an eBay store for a smaller venture.

Many have found that the greater freedom of the online space gives them the opportunity to improve their quality of life by freeing themselves from slavish opening hours through taking orders from a much wider client base, possibly including international customers and shipping them via courier services. Their working days have gone down from 16 hours to just enough to service their daily orders.

When was the last time you took a critical look at your business and evaluated just how much you could ring the ch-ch-ch-ch-changes to increase your margins and decrease your working day?

Turn and face the strange
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it

David Bowie – Changes

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