Technology – Watch It, Use It, Grow With It

Transportation companies, newspapers and video stores are just three examples of industries who have seen sweeping changes in the way they do business, or don’t do business at all anymore.  Companies which were once giants in these fields such as Blockbuster have either gone bankrupt or seen a massive loss in their profits.  Yet the demand for the services they provide is still here!  People will always need a ride.  They will always want to keep up with current political events and watch movies. Since this is the case, what happened? The answer is simple: other companies are doing the same thing better, cheaper, and faster by utilizing different business models. Apps such as Uber and Lyft offer a more affordable and convenient alternative to taxicabs, news can be found for free on a multitude of websites as well as social media and the prevalence of digital media has rendered physical media obsolete. Are you shifting with your market?

Sometimes it is not enough to simply identify the shift in power. By the time a trend has appeared and is validated, such as Uber, chances are that other competitors are going to be knocking at the door asking for their piece of the pie soon too.  Think Lyft. There are two primary ways of making sure that your business stands out from others and captures a growing market.

Commit to Action Plans

The first is to be the first to try new things in your market.  Be the first out. New trends, even if validated, generally aren’t fully adopted for quite some time. While there will be many people who will explore something new, very few will commit to something new. By striking first and diverting more attention into a venture than your competitors, you have the opportunity of becoming a trendsetter.

It requires confidence in whatever avenue you are exploring.  In poker, it’s the equivalent of going all-in. Very few will want to call that bet, locking themselves out of a potential opportunity.

The second plan is to react to changes.  Look at what Netflix did to Blockbuster.  It wasn’t happenstance.  Blockbuster founder, Reed Hastings was furious he had to pay $40 in late fees for keeping Apollo 13 too long.  He thought, there must be a better way.  Pretty soon, you could keep a DVD as long as you wanted and mail it back in when you were ready.  Not wanting to rest on their laurels, as streaming TV became popular, Netflix changed the way they did business again to become even more convenient.

In another example of creative rebound to change, Sony realized quickly as Blockbuster was shuddering stores across the country that there would be no need for DVD players soon.  They refocused on making gaming devices such as the Sony Play Station and locked that market up tight.

Changes are coming. Change cannot be stopped. No matter what era or industry, you are in, it will change. By fully committing to innovation and consistently monitoring the competitive landscape, you’ll stay ahead of the game and ensure your business thrives.