Now, the world is becoming more dynamic. Technological advances are on the increase. Complexities in the local and international business environment are rising. Various socio-politico-economic factors that impact on business exist and these factors themselves are full of dynamism, complexity and uncertainties. The international environment is VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Dynamic). The market place is changing rapidly and yet entrepreneurs have to understand these changes, in order to be able to cope and still provide goods and services that meet the changing trends. Innovations abound.
With the above background, today I would like to share with you some ideas about the future of business, based on a book entitled The Curve, written by Nicholas Lovell. This book is a pretty nice book and I think every forward looking entrepreneur should buy and read this book. Don’t be mean with your money and time. Ok? By the way, don’t develop some attitude because I’m referring you to this, or any other book. I mentioned earlier on that I intend to share valuable knowledge that I believe will help develop better entrepreneurs, and this I will do. It’s a free world, and if you dislike what I’m doing on this blog you are free to run! But I know you are still around, and will keep being around, so let’s go on.
Let us proceed and consider three very powerful points this guy put forward.
- Find your audience. Entrepreneur, the business of tomorrow is going to focus on super fans that love what you do, and not just finding the biggest possible audience or market. There is so much to choose and buy from today and in the future, and usually when people are presented with too much choice they choose not to choose. Abundance comes with an accompanying scarcity because excessive information readily available in this age demands attention of consumers hence a scarcity of this very attention we are talking about. Getting the market to notice your products and services is becoming critical for business in the future due to this abundance. There are new opportunities being created by market fragmentation every day, because the mass market is fast disappearing and is being equally rapidly replaced by niche marketing.
The audience is also quickly moving away from physical products to digital products. Trust me; if it were possible to construct houses, do everything and live our lives digitally or electronically, we would do that today. This could border the extraterrestrial, but we will keep it terrestrial for now. Human beings are about to start giving their residential and location addresses in terms of co-ordinates. Come on! Wouldn’t it be interesting to tell someone you have an appointment with, to find you at 1.5344800 (Latitude) and 33.4667305 (Longitude)? Very interesting! Anything that can be converted into digital is rapidly being converted, so the physical is becoming tyrannical. The digital, unlike the physical, is extremistan, is very powerful and is not constrained. My dear entrepreneurs, if you run an enterprise with goods and services that can be digitalized, please take note. Virtual goods are becoming the norm and human beings today are very willing to pay for what is not physical, something they don’t see. In the past you would be chased with an axe and called a cheat if you sold anything virtual! The market has fast adopted a blend of the physical and virtual. It’s a dualism. The digital is also significantly controlling marketing and sales of the physical already, and will continue to do even more in the future business world.
Remember that this digital age audience is capable of rapidly building (if you do good) and also destroying your business if you mess yourself up. Your digital audience are themselves retailers of your products and services hence you need to be careful with them. You need to be more consumer-facing. There is power in the internet as news and information move at supersonic speeds. Learn continuously, adapt and be flexible. Create something that resonates with your audience and make them feel special. If you must fail, fail quickly and move on please. Understand the behavior and preferences of your audience in terms of products, services, purchasing patterns etc. after you have got that audience. Do you understand this Mr. Entrepreneur? This means that you need to get better at measuring. The future is full of well-informed consumers who make buying decisions on the go through mobile devices. Consumers are quite in control.
- Use all the tools at your disposal to figure out what is important to your audience. Now, the task or responsibility of finding out what is important to your audience or the market is something very fundamental and you can only ignore this at your own peril. Don’t you agree with me? Look my dear entrepreneur, the expectations of the consumers of today and tomorrow are very fast-changing and are increasing. The market will continue demanding more and yet plans to pay as little as they can. The market pretty much does not care about whatever humongous costs you the entrepreneur and your business are incurring in designing, producing and marketing your goods and services. If they crave your product you must supply it at a reasonable price. Your goal is to find and satisfy this crave in your customers or clients, if you want to be in business tomorrow. Do you understand this point? Come on.
You have got to connect with your clients through the internet, which has already become very cheap anyway, and any other modern approaches. Ah! Some folks could give me a punch here for saying the internet is cheap. In some parts of the world people still have to bring an arm to get dedicated and good quality internet 24/7. Don’t worry! It’s gonna be better with time. Ok? You will soon be signing ‘let’s go surfing – oh la la la.’ Skills that enable you connect to the clients well is the future of business, because the entire world is very connected through the worldwide web. Am I making sense to someone here? Be careful though, and don’t think that the future consumers are naïve and can take any junk from the internet. There are also internet tools that enable people to filter and opt for good things, not any mediocre offers. Good, interesting and valuable things attract. Digital lifestyle, speed and automation is the future.
- Let your audience spend anything from a little to lots of money on things (physical and non-physical) they truly value. This is now about relationship building with your lovers (don’t get me wrong). I know some of you will imagine all kinds of things in your brains when I talk about lovers. Far from that for now. By lovers, I mean your super fans. I mean the market piece or niche that loves and adores your goods and services and does not mind coming back over and over again to take some more. Excellent services that create customer delight will help you build relationships, and attract people that can pay handsomely. The tech-advanced enterprises will use advanced methods such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), behavioral modeling and data analytics to understand their customers and build good and long lasting relationships with them, towards achieving their enterprise goals and objectives.
Relationship building is also about free loading. Do you realize that as a business you can easily connect to your clients through freeloading? People like free things you know. You can leverage on free to make money and even create and achieve customer delight in your enterprise. Free is not equivalent to cheap. They are different. Free things provide a platform for people to spend their money, but when this happens only a small percent of the people actually spend the money. This is reality and it is why you need to build super fans. These guys will spend lots of money. They can be likened to football fans that can do anything to go and watch a game. Some will have sleepless nights or even refuse food because their teams lost. I must confess, I don’t think I can skip food because some football team (or my team specifically) lost a game. Not that I’m not passionate about games or that I love food very much, but I draw a line somewhere and get real rather than live in utopia! In any case, you still need energy to continue worrying (if you like) about your loss. Ok?
Variable pricing is another important tool. Do you know that value and price are not the same? What we value is personal, is unique and is individual, and could also be manufactured. Do you also know that price can be divorced from the cost of production and delivery of a good or service? Can you explain to me why in some cities in the world you have to part with $5-10 for a cup of coffee (I mean USD – not some dollar something with little value; since some folks like to give powerful names to low value currencies for no good reason). What really goes into that cup of coffee? There are also pharmaceutical and other products that are priced at several times the real cost of production. You could find a guitar priced at $475,000. What about the hospitality industry? Do you know that there are folks that pay USD 10,000 for a night in an hotel in this earth? Do you know that some nice pieces of apparel you can get at some downtown boutique go for about 3-4 times that downtown price in upscale boutiques? It’s your choice – man! But I’m talking about building a business here. If you have a product for example, that you can distribute electronically in a cheap way, focusing too much on your production cost may give you a disadvantage. Do you agree with me? You can give away for free the abundant and then make money from the scarce. Entrepreneurs of today and the future can be very discriminatory in pricing, charging anything from free to very expensive.
So in conclusion, Mr. Entrepreneur, you should know that the business landscape is fast changing. You have got to be adaptable to find cheaper, better, faster, etc. products and services that the future demands. You have got to utilize creative destruction, innovating new products and services at the expense of old ones, to survive in the future. You have got to carry out disruptive innovation by searching for ways to offer new products and services to remain sustainable in the future business world. The advantage you have in this digital age is that you can use the web to get customers, determine the best customers and then strategize to make then spend lots of money on the things they love.
Have a great week ahead, and till then,
The Wise Entrepreneur