My grandfather delivered milk by horse and cart. Clopping hooves, the clink of bottles and the promise of daily delivered fresh milk is now but a faint memory. It was his life and business.
Large supermarket chains have claimed his job.
Waiting to have your film developed was part of the holiday ritual. It also sometimes meant discovering two weeks after the event that they were overexposed or were so dark they were useless. Taking photos was restricted to a roll of a 24 or 36 shot film canister.
Kodak’s reign is over .
The city newspapers still deliver our news in print but billions in business assets and even survival is under threat as information distribution moves online. Bloggers, Twitter and technology have changed the game.
So what are some indicators that you are becoming irrelevant in a tsunami of change and what can you do about it? Here are 10 signs that your business is in trouble.
#1. Technology is an afterthought
Sometimes the key difference between continuing to be relevant and business extinction is technology. I don’t mean upgrading your photocopier, but taking a long hard look at trends in your industry that are promising disruption. E-commerce is not just about buying on the web it is commerce driven by technology that offers better service, speed to market and global reach.
Invest in technology until it hurts.
#2. The content is light and fluffy
Ever visited a company website and found nothing but froth, fluff and corporate speak. There is often no blog and if there is, it all about them. No content to educate, inspire or entertain. They are afraid to give away their knowledge.
Add value to your customers and prospects. Online that is the only way they know you are an expert and thought leader in your industry.
Source, create and publish the best content you can. Every day!
#3. Can’t spell SEO
SEO is an acronym and it is only 3 letters long. Many CEO’s still can’t spell it despite having a degree and years of experience in writing and grammar. Not being found in search can be a death sentence.
Investing the time and effort in making sure that you rank high in search engines is not an option unless you think Google is going away soon.
#4. Forgotten about the rest of the world
How many of you buy a product from the other side of the world? Book, software or fashion. Your competitors can be in Hong Kong, New York or London. Often delivery is faster than the corner store.
Relevance today means global thinking.
#5. No continuous learning
So you have been to university or college. Your education is done. You can sit back and bask in the glow of the framed degree on the wall. I know doctors like that and they are dangerous!
Read blogs in your industry, attend conferences and read till your eyes bleed.
A fast changing world means yesterday’s degree is just a piece of paper.
#6. Passion and purpose is missing
A person with no passion and a company with a flapping purpose is ripe for disruption. A company on a mission means they will do what it takes to keep up to date. They invest in their people, culture and education. Maintaining the status quo doesn’t cut it. Dead people walking is a sign that life is ebbing away.
Make sure you have a clear mojo.
#7. Ignoring your young people
Grey hair, suits and shiny shoes are all good. If that means that you are doing the same things from 20 years ago and the results are static or diminishing then you may need an injection of new blood. Your 20 and 30 year olds are the future and they know what works on a social and mobile web.
Young and crazy is sometimes sensible.
#8. Buying is complicated
Ever bought an ebook on Amazon. It is one click! Do you put obstacles in the way of your customers. Do you make them jump through hoops.
According to Ev Williams, the founder of Blogger and Twitter.
“Here’s the formula if you want to build a billion-dollar internet company. Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time…Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.”
So the thinking should be when building a successful online business is “how can I take out the steps?”
Companies such as Selz, with quick and easy set-up of online payments for bloggers and business and Canva, who makes design as simple as find, drop and drag know that. They understand the beauty and importance of simplicity
Jack Dorsey is doing that with Square that makes buying easy using a mobile. Started in 2010 it now has 600 employees.
#9. Mobile isn’t mentioned
Finding information, checking the weather and buying products is no longer a desk job. Reading emails and making purchases are done on the bus, the beach and in the cafe.
Companies that are ignoring the smartphone revolution need to design their business and technologies for a mobile world.
We all have our own ideas but sometimes you need to listen and watch to what is happening around you. It’s called awareness. Resisting change doesn’t mean you don’t care. Being flexible is a way of thinking. Being open to new ideas and just plain listening means you can adapt
How do you remain relevant?
It can be summed up with a simple phrase, “Watch, listen and learn”
Are you relevant or are you in danger of becoming a dinosaur? Ecommerce, mobiles, new media and technology are disrupting business as usual. How are you coping?
Look forward to your insights and feedback in the comments below.
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