When I talk to people about this “new economy” and establishing an online presence for their business, invariably the comment comes up…
“I have left it too late – there is too much competition, how could I make a difference now?”
Well, if you also feel this way, consider how is it possible that companies like AIRBNB came from no-where to being a major global disrupter that has unsettled the industry in just a few short years?
Airbnb, established in 2008, is a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging – it has over 1.5 million listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries – they do not own property!
Incidentally, I noticed that the Marriott Hotel Group had announced today, their acquisition of The Starwood Hotels and Resorts, making it the largest hotel group in the world – could it be that AIRBNB is disrupting the traditional hotel industry causing these responses?
Marriott, established in 1925, is a traditional hotel group with over 4,200 properties in 79 countries of which post the Starwood acquisition, will have over 30 different brands and over 1 million rooms – they own a lot of property!
In some reports, the developing countries across Africa and Asia who are increasing their presence in this global digital market place, are often mentioned to be having a significant impact that is yet to fully play out. I have also seen some of this first hand in my own Fair Trade business, where I work with many micro startups from these regions and I can certainly say how much this is transforming these communities.
But regardless of where you are, or how small or big you may be, or your experience online, the opportunities for everyone globally are significant and we are just at the beginning of this paradigm shift.
So what about you?
What can you do to have a piece of the action, if that is what we can call it?
Firstly, you need to believe that there are significant opportunities – this is about you or your business addressing your own “mind-set”.
Next, you need to model success.
Finally, you need to ensure you do not become complacent with your own success and this is about managing your own paradigm.
It is often said that as human beings, we are so efficient that we can find any form of justification to support our beliefs. What you need to do is to seek information and evidence that can start to challenge those belief of yours that are no longer serving you.
For me, several years ago I was attending a conference which just so happened to have several successful entrepreneurs speaking. After three days and meeting many different people, I started to challenge my old corporate thinking. This then lead to me going on a journey to “re-wire” my brain.
You need to do this too, if you want to be successful in this new economy.
For my businesses, I have been monitoring very closely the industry leaders of my targeted niches for several years.
I have opted into these “leaders” newsletters, I have downloaded free reports and I have spent thousands of dollars buying their products that range from live seminars to one on one consulting.
I have done this for two reasons. First, to obviously acquire the latest skills and technologies but secondly and importantly, to identify what are the best practices that these “leaders” are using.
Remember, success leaves clues!
Now I will not mention names, but I have been able to “reverse engineer” many of these “leaders” businesses operating models and the insights from this exercise have been quite astonishing. You see they made me realise that a lot of it is still trial and error – but the methodology if I can call it that, is a continual process of testing and feedback.
Do you think it is possible for you to adopt a similar strategy for your business in which you are continually testing, seeking feedback and fine tuning to get a better outcome the next time round?
I would suggest to you that this is a key aspect of being successful in this new economy – so you should consider doing this as well.
Beware The Paradigm
The futurist, Joel A Barker, who wrote the classic book, The New Business of Paradigms several years ago, introduced to more mainstream readers the concept of paradigms in business, citing examples such as the rise and fall and re-invention of Kodak and of course way before the likes of AIRBNB.
However, the danger of paradigms still exists even in this new economy.
You must be wary of your success as it can lead you to justifying your behaviour of complacency. This will be your blind spot. So make sure you are continually scanning your market place but also across industries for new disruptive business models than could change your world rapidly.
So who will be next after AIRBNB?
Will Marriott somehow reverse engineer AIRBNB’s success and come back to strike a decisive blow?
We obviously do not know the end of the story as yet but we do need to recognise that change is a constant of this new economy. It is not for the feint heated – but if you strike it head on, the opportunities will open for you.