By Eamonn Percy
“The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” – William Gibson
The Changing World
2015 is shaping up to be a big year for business; it will make some and break many. Economically, we will be into the 6th year of: the bull market in US stock market, irrationally low interest rates and the jobless recovery in the US. The situation in Canada is better, however, declining oil prices coupled with a weakening Canadian dollar and a slowing resource sector are damping growth. Demographically, baby boomers are well into retirement, while the number of Millennials (age 18 – 30) continue to swell putting pressure on the job market as Millennials want to get started, but the boomers don’t want to let go. All of these factors will impact your customer’s discretionary spending, which in the end, is your true competition.
The M-Commerce Economy
Innovation will be the big story in 2015, particularly the massive acceleration of information technology, as the statistics at liveinternetstats.com clearly show. There are more than 3 million smartphone sold each day and 9
billion YouTube video views per day. There are even more Iphones sold each day than there are babies born each day. Massive change is coming.While innovations like mobile commerce (M-commerce) are causing significant disruptions to the way we do business, they are also creating new and incredible opportunities.
According to the on-line retail data leader ComScore, mobile digital commerce in 2014 grew 25% over 2013 levels, and is growing at TWICE the rate of E-commerce. The overall digital commerce world is expected to grow by 16% to reach $61 billion in 2015.
Think Strategically, Act Tactically
The beginning of the year is the time to think clearly, and differently, about your business. It’s time to think about the big picture, not the small one, to think strategically, not tactically. It’s time to think about how the external world is changing, and how your business approach to it should change as well. Status quo is rapidly becoming a place of higher risk for you and business.
Stay One Step Ahead of Your Customers
Don’t let your customers get too far ahead of your technology adoption, otherwise they will leave you behind completely. Pick one big area of technological improvement in 2015, and work it until it is 100% implemented. It could be a social marketing presence, leveraging cloud technology, developing a company app, or creating a new online market channel. Pick one and do it well.
If you personally are not comfortable with technology, turn 2015 into the year that you become more tech savvy. Start by becoming a learner, and commit to increasing your awareness and ultimately your knowledge. Get to know your blind spot and find someone else to compensate for this weakness, while you are upgrading your skills and training. Try new technology with gusto, getting rid of preconceived notions that you may hold.
Think like Your Competitor
Finally, and most importantly, prepare your business for the coming onslaught of disruption
driven by technological change. Probe your business weaknesses, by asking what your competitors are
doing to put you out of business, and fix it before they do. Dominate your sector by doing one thing exceptionally well. Find a path to a global online presence, even if you are a small local bricks and mortar company.
Make 2015 a breakout year, by building your business with courage, in order to thrive in this changing world of new risk and opportunity. This courage will inspire you to new heights, while filling you with optimism, energy and a purpose for the future. Now is not the time to settle for anything else.
Eamonn has a B. Eng. (Electrical) from Lakehead University, MBA (Finance) from University of Toronto, and has completed Executive Education at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on twitter @EamonnPercy