It’s okay to feel nostalgic, to hark back to the good old days when cameras required film (in packs of 36) and took 2 weeks to get processed. It’s okay to appreciate the horse and how romantic it was before the car came along. I’d also encourage a love of retro vinyl and even collect it myself – there is something nice about hearing (and feeling) the warmth that comes from “old-fashioned” records.
But, unless you are targeting a retro market, you shouldn’t base your business on it. If you want to stay relevant and avoid going to the wall you will have to embrace technology. And not just in your core field, advances in technology have changed beyond recognition every corner of business, from operations to finance to staffing to logistics to sales etc… no area is untouched.
Left untouched, you run the risk that your competitors evolve and you go extinct – wondering what went wrong.
Staying abreast ain’t easy, not everyone has the luxury of spending 50% of their time reading and learning new stuff. Start with 10% and aim for 25% – that’s a day a week you should dedicate to learning, sharing and collaborating on new technological advances.
We spend closer to 50% – we have to in our market as it moves so fast. The disruptive nature of digital marketing acts as a huge hoover, sucking up all the ideas and spitting out the bad ones. Getting left behind here is simple and the real lesson is the oft quoted “past performance is no guide to future returns”.
Reflect how fast Kodak went bust, how often you see a photocopier now, where did the typing pools go? These might be huge changes for your business and may require very aggressive management to make them happen. Companies and people don’t like huge changes and frequently it can destabilise employees, clients and suppliers alike so maintain a clear vision, take no prisoners and maintain momentum.
Look to technology to help you through this. Out there are technological solutions that will fix any problem you have quicker and cheaper than you are doing it now. I promise.
We put technology at the heart of what we do and have learned over the years that we should regard processes, equipment, resources and logistics as set in stone. Everything is under continual review and when something better comes along we’re well placed to take advantage. It IS our advantage and our clients see that – we are regarded as innovators and we leave the gravy-train work to the more traditional businesses.
By Martin Dower