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Don’t become a dinosaur!

I recently attended a dynamic presentation called “How Do We Stay Forever Profitable” by John Sanei, a trend and business innovation specialist based in Cape Town.  I highly recommend this talk if you want to jolt your management team out of their comfort zones and into decisive action that will help your business prepare for the future!

There were so many thought-provoking, awe-inspiring and frankly scary trends which John highlighted, that this baby-boomer was tempted to run and hide…Fortunately, the challenges that these trends offer are just too exciting to miss and FOMO quickly set in!

So, these are just a few of the trends we need to gear up for. (Apologies if my facts are not as accurate as the speed at which John can rattle them off!):

  • By 2023, seven billion people will have access to the internet (in 2015 it was 3.2 billion). Imagine the power of social media and the impact of this access to knowledge on your business!
  • By 2023, 65% of the working population will be freelancers with no expectation or need for permanent employment.  How will this transform the recruitment industry and impact on strategies for talent retention for example?
  • The future of sales will shift from push selling (the advertising and marketing industries are already shrinking), to pull selling (helping, advising, making people’s lives better) and synergising (sharing what you know as a thought leader).  John used the example of Patagonia, a Californian company similar to our Cape Union Mart, who provide a repair service for their clothing and footwear, and offer DIY repair tips to their customers, rather than pushing them to buy new products.
  • We will need to serve three world markets with very diverse needs, that will demand innovation and business agility.

  1. The mature awareness market (less is more, guilt-free consumption by people conscious of the future and aware of their environmental footprint).
  2. The emerging awareness market (more is more, conspicuous consumption by people with a need for recognition).
  3. The less affluent market (value-driven consumption by people who have difficulty accessing products because of a lack of transport, credit, etc., but want connectivity and value reverse innovation products such as Tata cars).
  • The growth of robotics will increase exponentially. We are already seeing this with Tesla’s manufacturing plants and in healthcare, where blood samples are being taken by robotic nurses and the use of robotic surgery is increasing. (It is already available in South Africa for urology cases, so we are not an exception).  How robot-proof is your current skills set (or your child’s who is studying at university now)?
  • Three consumer needs will drive what we do and how we do it.  Hyper-personalisation (check out Stitch Fix.com for example), hyper-trust (stores like Woolies), and Simplexity (a complementary relationship between complexity and simplicity – make it easy)
  • Real innovation, where we rethink what our industry is about.  John cited the examples of Capital One Bank in the USA, that offers coffee shops and yoga classes to attract Millennials (who would have thought?), and Dominos, a tech company that sells pizza!

Being a solopreneur in people and business development, my first thought at the end of John’s presentation was the impact of these trends on the small providers who don’t have the resources (or skills?) to implement extensive, rapid change in what we offer and how we do it.

If we are to remain relevant (and not risk becoming a dinosaur), perhaps we should create a forum where we collaborate to share ideas and learn from trend specialists like John to benefit all our businesses?  We know that collaboration is the future of small business and I would be happy to drive this, so let me know if you are interested!

With thanks to John Sanei for the jolt!



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