The Business World – in 10 years.................

The previous Wise Words have concentrated on the concept of what it means to work "on" your business as opposed to working "in" your business. I have thrown some ideas around of what working "on" your business is and challenged you to consider how much time if any you spend on as opposed to in your business. In essence we have been talking about planning and reviewing your business as opposed to the day to day tasks you have to do.

But one thing that always puzzles me is how small businesses learn and evolve. Not just learn about their business and numbers but more importantly how they stay up to date with what is happening in the business world. Do most small business owners see this as a crucial part of owning their own business? Do they see staying up to date with technology and innovation as important? But more importantly do they do anything about this?

Let's take a look back in time. How many Industries have dissapeared in the last 25 - 50 years? What jobs or businesses were your grandparents in? How many trades have all but dissapeared? If we look back in time so much has changed in our world. Take the little corner grocer for example. With the giants of Coles/Woolworths etc the corner grocer is a dying industry. Once we sent telegrams! People were employed to deliver these telegrams. Now it's all about email, mobile phone, skype, direct message and the list goes on. The guy who used to deliver the telegram is soon out of a job. His job has been replaced with technicians who now design and build these technologies. Think about some of the manufacturing industries. How many machines have replaced what was once classed as a trade?

How much has your industry changed in the last 10 years?

What does that mean to your business? What are your competitiors doing? What are the big players in your market place doing? Do you think your industry has an unlimited lifetime?

But on another note what has changed in the world around you not just in your specific industry? Why would this be important? Innovation and Technology in business is not always industry specific. More often than not you can adapt innovation in one industry to suit yours giving you the competitive edge. But again it's not always just the competitive edge that's important......sometimes you need this just to keep up with your competitors.

What if some innovation or technology in your business saved you just 10% of all your employees time. What would this mean to your business? Could you increase your sales by an extra 10%? How much extra profit would this make you? What if innovation or technology in your business allowed you to specialise in a certain part of your industry? Could this be your marketing advantage? What if innovation or technology made your product obsolete? What if innovation or technology changed your industry from being a predominately labour based industry to one run entirely by technology? Would you survive?

Let's take a look at how the bookkeeping industry has changed. Not so long ago your financial books were completed in an actual hard cover ledger book. Everything was hand written, cheques were used to make payments for all suppliers and bank reconciliations etc were completed manually. Along comes MYOB and your financial books are now completed electronically. Payments including wages and suppliers are done electronically and can be uploaded straight from the MYOB File. Bank Reconciliations are now completed electronically and everything is sent to the accountant in 1 file as opposed to the old shoebox. Roll forward to 2010 and here is the likes of Xero and now MYOB who have cloud computing products that automatically download all transactions from your bank statements and code them into your Financial "book" for you cutting down your processing time considerably and more importantly giving you live results. Bookkeepers have had to evolve and learn new skills just to stay in the industry.

Or take a look at the famous Nestle example. Now for any of you who are familiar with Social Media you will instantly know what I am talking about. For those of you who are not it's a lesson to be learned. Whether your business is active in the Social Media scene or not your customers are......and they talk about you. Who monitors this? Do you know what is being said about your business? Do you know how to harness this market?

What do you think your industry will look like in 10 or 20 years time? Do you think your business in it's current state will still be around? Do you think technology will have an impact on your business?

So what are you doing to ensure your business evolves to be around in 2020?