Adapt While You Still Can
Change happens rapidly.
Sometimes you go along, very successfully, doing what you’ve always done – doing what has always worked – and suddenly – BAM! – the tipping point is reached.
Overnight, it doesn’t work at all any more.
You are too late and too big and too invested in what you’ve already done to change.
Instead, you keep doing what you’ve always done… and you slowly become irrelevant.
Change creeps up on you and you never notice until it’s too late.
You’re successful. Your competition is nothing but a pack of annoying, yappy dogs, sqarming around your ankles. No one can challenge your pre-eminence.
Until that day that the new market you thought was a fad becomes the only game in town. And you are so far behind, you’ll never catch up… because all your energy went into securing your spot as #1 in the game no one plays anymore.
You’re Small – Be Nimble
You’ve seen big businesses and mighty institutions fail. Not just banks, but more to the point – auto companies, newspapers, broadcast TV, downtown department stores, computer big box chains…. the list is long and frightening.
The one thing they have in common is an inability to adapt.
They captured their market and then they protected it from the armies they’d already vanquished. They were blindsided by the real challenge, which came from nowhere.
They were too slow to change, too big to adapt.
Never Get Comfortable
Although the hype and triumphalism around all things Web 2.0 can be hard to take, something different is clearly happening.
- The mass media is doing a wretched job of covering Iran – but Twitterers are sending reports from every street corner in Tehran.
- Major metropolitan newspapers are disappearing, while blogs proliferate.
- Retail chains disappear, online shopping grows, but established online giants like eBay continue to lose market share.
You, as an independent small business owner or information product producer, are in the perfect position to benefit from the shake ups and the chaos, if only you are ready and can change directions in an instant.
No one really knows what will happen next year (or next month).
- Will Google still rule the universe?
- Will the changes they are making to their ranking algorithms lock out the little guy – or will they rocket you to the top?
- Will blogging become so mainstream it’s boring and people stop reading?
- Will Amazon turn into the online Wal-Mart or will some new business model take them down?
I certainly can’t predict – but I do know that trends are easy to spot if you are watching for them. And easy to exploit if you are not afraid.
Don’t be tomorrow’s CNN, forced to turn to some kid with a cell phone and a Twitter account to do your job.
When you see a trend, divert resources to it. Be ready to catch the wave as it builds. Learn, investigate, invest. Don’t just be the leader in your niche – be a leader.
Photo by Lin Pernille ? Photography Released under Creative Commons License.