The Future and Business
In the earlier days before the industrial revolution most people used to be entrepreneurs. Some baked bread, made clothes, grew crops, brew beer and made wine. Entrepreneurs used to service all needs of society.
The industrial revolution with mass industrialisation and mechanisation took most of the thinking out of jobs. Workers had to follow standard operating procedures controlled by supervisors. Initially there were not enough competent people to perform all the work. Sociologists at the time warned that humankind can’t be expected to work in small confined spaces and for long hours in factories. This will surely lead to disaster. On the contrary men adapted so well to office life, factories and the way we do business that they forgot what it was to be an entrepreneur.
The well is dry today. There is simply not enough work available for all people. People became so conditioned to drink the bottle from mother that they can’t fend for themselves today and blame the government or whoever they can find for problems and lack of work.
It is however not all bad news. Because of the revolution in communication and technology very small organisations ranging from 1 to 20 people can be globally competitive today. Many people argue that it is better to be a small boss than a big servant. Big companies wanting to survive also have to think and act like entrepreneurs.
Compared to the past, people are much better educated and because of competition have a range of options and choices in fulfilling their needs. In the old business model the consumer had to take what was produced. Today the business model changed to satisfying the needs of the consumer. The million dollar question is how to anticipate client needs and finding a niche for your service and products. One must be aware what is going on in society. One good method is to perform a trend analysis and then to follow and interpret the trends on a regular basis.
A trend is the general direction in which something is developing or moving. Knowing and understanding consumer trends will help you with business and marketing. The trends will give you a good indication how the issues and needs of society are moving. Society can only handle a limited number of trends at the same time. Things move in and out of favour according to a change in trends. Trend interpretation will give you an indication of the direction business is moving in. Trends are predictive because they start small and then gain momentum.
One good example of a trend is the movement from analogue to digital technology. If I am correct it started in 1970 with watches. This trend influenced most industries in the world in some or other way. The footprints of the digital trend can be seen in instrumentation, music, broadcasting, television and photography just to mention a few. Television is one of the last industries to make the transition to digital technology.
Macro trends are the big trends in society that will have a lasting and huge impact on the way we live and do business. If you align your business with a macro trend then you are assured of finding a niche that you can service over a longer period and build a sustainable business. We want to avoid bubbles and Hula hoop cycles.
One macro trend is that of corporate technology in the hands of Citizens. Communication technology as a commodity has caused an ultra-connected society who is now, more than ever, empowered to interact and be heard
One of the main outcomes is that normal, everyday citizens, can communicate and build valuable products and services, often with little or no cost, that can compete directly with companies who invest millions in developing offerings and advertising.
The agility of common small business people beats the oil tanker speed of many large businesses that were once safe in the knowledge that their competencies and technology were protected. Entrepreneurs perform excellent marketing using the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The rules of conducting business are changing in favour of smaller business and big companies willing to play according to the new rules.
As an entrepreneur or small business you don’t have to do all the work yourself re trends and business information. Most of it you can get for free on the internet. You must just make sure to identify and tap into relevant information, user groups and experts. Obviously you must understand your business model and strategy and interpret the information to understand what is really applicable to your business. What are the opportunities and threats? Build or acquire competencies to exploit good opportunities and grow your business.
Ultimately we live in a world where the fittest will survive and live well. It is time to show courage! Ask yourself; are you the predator or the prey? “It’s time to eat….or be eaten!”
- MacDonald J (2009). The first 6 Macro Trends of the 21st Century: Retrieved from www.thisfluidworld.com
- Naisbitt John. 1982. Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives. Warner Books Inc
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