The way we view the world is from experience; such are the shape-shifting times of a digital age.
It takes time to establish a business – Running one is complicated and when a challenge has been overcome and everything is working smoothly, there is a reluctance to change a process because its deemed unnecessary, even though the ‘new’ way of working will one day be the ‘old’ way of working.
In business, disruption is rapid. Things that were once a Sci-Fi story are here: the ways we buy, how products are made, the energy we use, how we pay, how we connect. Apparently, learning is being disrupted by the mixture of technologies available (digital, physical and biological) that are moving us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The currency in this economy? Codified Skills or, ‘prove it’ skills, referred to as a ‘stack’ approach to lifelong learning.
It’s difficult to make a living, let alone a profit, when nearby business properties are empty. Yet, needed as a part of the usual chain mix, a butcher, baker and candlestick maker encourages a retail area to come alive. Collaborative solutions have always been integral to business transactions. There’s nothing wrong with a convenient coffee stop at Costa instead of an attentive, leisurely, artisan experience, providing the options are available. Without the right location, the Independent Café has more of a struggle to survive amongst a line of betting shops, interspersed with deep-fat fry takeaways and charity shops, than the chain café has, and the silver bullet is clearly not ready. Holding the key to their customers’ experience, independent business owners can become key players.
The driving force of the small business owner usually has a kernel of wanting independence that requires ongoing measurement and balance. As entrepreneurs, they can experience the effects of disruption or, can be the disrupters.
By sharpening their propositions (Plan, Strategy, Review) and, often not too dissimilar from the independent operator looking to sustainability and being ready for growth, keep an eye on how commercial giants operate when the going is good.