Life in the fast lane has become the norm these days since the introduction of technology. The name of the game today is change and innovation. For years we lived in an industrial age and although things changed it was at a much slower pace. We have experienced more changes in the last few years than we have in the last fifty.
The sustainability of a business, big or small, will be whether its leaders are able to adapt to meet the ever changing demands of the market. Technology has changed everything including how we watch television, how we gather information and even how we elect our president. President Obama surprised everyone with his social media dominance in 2008 when he leveraged social media to create not only a political base but a massive database of supporters. He openly embraced change and encouraged his constituents to as well. He used his social media to change the way campaigns are run. Whether you like Obama or not you do have to admit that he was an innovator and has forever changed the political climate.
I used to be a columnist for three magazines in the early 2000’s and now two of those publications are gone and the third is struggling. Most of the print newspapers are gone except for the ones who have become digital. Hulu and Netflix are growing in popularity as cable television dies a slow death. Most people under age 35 don’t even subscribe to cable TV. The millennials are now driving the boat and will not sit through commercial after commercial to watch a movie.
Bethlehem steel was one of the largest and oldest industries in America but its collapse came as a result of failure to change and innovate. Had they changed, innovated and evolved it’s quite possible they could have kept up with foreign competition and figured out new ways to sell their products. Big businesses often find change difficult and sometimes cling on to old brands and demographics which can ultimately mean their demise. Cadillac was so slow to innovate they almost became extinct as their customers (older consumers ) literally died off. They finally started to change their designs and marketing strategies to appeal to a younger demographic and were able to become relevant again.
The benefit of being a small business is that you can afford to be much more flexible and adapt. The good news is that companies like Google and Facebook have leveled the playing field and your business no longer requires the big budgets of large companies to compete. There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur, as long as you are willing to learn new skills and embrace change.