Trends for 2014 and beyond for the Business Leader
As a new year begins to unfold I assume you have taken the time to review the results of this year. Reviewing the results of the year is very important – if you are interesting in results and execution.
The fact is plans are a dime a dozen – everyone has plans. There are Strategic Plans, Business Plans, Marketing Plans, Sales Plans, Developmental Plans, New Development Plans and Key Account Strategic Plans. However, plans without an extensive review and comparison to expectations is only a sheet of paper with writing or numbers upon it.
The key is the execution of the plans which directly relate to the results and outcomes your organization or business unit accomplishes. This is the time of the year to take long looks, dialogues and focus upon what has occurred against what was planned. By focusing on your results, you can put together an improved plan for the future.
Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to one of the futurist thinkers of our time and he pointed out four specific trends occurring in our business environment for us to reflect upon. By reflecting I mean taking a hard look at your industry, apply what you learn about these trends and then assume something is going to happen in your marketplace with a definitive impact upon your plans.
The four trends are…
- Smart Devices are taking on more emphasis
- Amazon is going after new industries
- Technology and Social Media determines your business level
- Robotics are coming fast
Let me explain how these trends will impact organizations. First, the smart devices are growing at astounding rates compared to other industries. But more importantly this is a global trend. People in emerging countries who may not even have running water in their homes have smart phones. They are using them to learn, to stay in touch with global happenings, and to run their small to large businesses.
So you can expect instant access to anything that is published on the internet. Are you on the internet with interactive sites sharing content, education and opportunities? Most internet sites are poorly run – in fact, this site and its parent site are poor examples of excellent interactive sites. My main site is now 10 years old. Now I do have other sites which are maintained at a higher level – but my main site is terrible. GEEZ!
Second, Amazon is a growing beast in the marketplace. They are huge and have destroyed the book store business. Now, they are aiming at all types of distribution type companies. They are selling directly to your customers using their distribution system to beat your distribution system. How powerful are they? Amazon got the U S Postal Service to make Sunday deliveries in certain cities to get their ever increasing volume of deliveries.
B2B companies need to take immediate action or Amazon may soon have the majority of your business – particularly if you are selling commodity type products whereby the specifications are clearly known by everyone. I know a person who is using Amazon as his personal infrastructure for a supply store business. His website is directly connected to Amazon.com which supplies the product photos, descriptions, customer service, supply chain and delivery systems. He gets a commission directly from Amazon deposited directly to his account each week. Think about this as you think about who are your competitors.
Third, technology and the smart devices are creating fast growing businesses to compete with old line established industries. They are winning because these companies are transparent in working with their customers AND their customers get to rate their performance on every transaction.
An example of this is the taxi industry busting service called Uber. Using an App on your smart phone you can find people who will transport you in some of the bigger cities – such as New York or San Francisco. You can select a person based upon ratings, photos, services etc. The transactions are paperless and cashless since the transactions are done on the smart phone. You can track your service on GPS and you get detailed information regarding your service time. Who else could be looking at your industry who is willing to change the game on you?
And finally the world of Robotics is moving faster into our world. All ready there are systems parking your cars. I recently looked at some new cars and several models have automated robotics for safety issues – like stopping your car for you as you approach another vehicle, take over the steering if you drift out of your lane of traffic. Personally, this one is hard for me to accept due to my independent nature. Yet, changes are coming whether I agree with them, like them or even want them – change is the only given in our lives today.
There will be more and more robotics coming to our workplaces. Manufacturing has had robotics for years. Warehousing is another area where computer controlled forklifts move through large warehouses and pick items without a person attending to the forklift. Take a moment to think about where robotic or computer controlled equipment is working in your industry (or a closely related industry) and how will this impact your business?
There you have a few trends to think about relative to your organization, business unit or group. Change is coming in the form of new trends and you need to be watching for them. Game Changers are here in many forms – elevate your awareness and attention – or lose the battle and the war to a competitor.
Take Action Today…
Having a session for your Executive Team with an outside influence will allow for open dialogue about the possibilities, keep you from having “sacred cows” slowing down innovation, or allow someone else to ask the tough questions needed to be answered within your group. Call me today at 901-757-4434 and we can discuss the possibilities for growth.