Monday, February 15, 2016

Postcards from tomorrow

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          to help you better manage your small business

     Few people claim to be able to predict the future. Those who do are usually wrong. I'm talking about predicting future events, not today's weather forecast for tomorrow. 

     In business, we project where we want to be in the future. We set goals. And then we begin taking steps to get there. We ignore this at our peril. Stepping into our future business is prudent. 

     There is an element of caution in the steps we take in business. We see a possible expansion, we take a preliminary step in that direction, and, if it works, we might proceed. Because we are committing time and resources, we've learned to exercise caution. If not, we can be courting business failure.

     Example: When videos became the rage, John opened a video store. He obtained a beginning stock of video cassettes, rented a store front, and held a grand opening. The store quickly became a destination. John rushed to sign another lease on the empty store next door. His operation blossomed, and he vastly increased his stock videos. Then a national video chain store came to town. If that were not bad enough, technology moved on. There was less demand for videos. Within ten years, John's store had shrunk back into its original space and he struggled to meet the rent. Today, he has closed both stores but he still offers videos--from a dispensing machine. 

     Tomorrow has a way of coming at you. No matter how carefully you might plan, tomorrow will surely bring surprises. Be ready.

     Example: Ben operated a machine shop for many years. He had about 10 employees, supplying precision-machined products to the aerospace, automotive and health care industries. Then, the age of 3-D printing dawned. Ben scoffed at the idea that this technology could ever be a threat to his machine shop. So, he refused to install one of the new 3-D printing machines or hire a programmer with the skills to operate it. Today, Ben is down to 3 employees while a competing operation is snapping up his customers--supplying their needs with their new 3-D printers. Ben missed his opportunity.

     It's not just technology that changes--and changes rapidly. The marketplace changes as well. People today are quite different from the people of yesterday. They demand different products, different services, and different customer service. 

     Today's marketplace is not yesterday's marketplace. And tomorrow's marketplace will not be like today's. Make sure your business is positioned to meet tomorrow's marketplace. Think about it and get ready.     

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