Nothing I haven't had the privilege of doing before, but what was so surprising was the way they viewed the short to medium term and how they were building in "uncertainty" into their business development model.
There has always been a degree of not knowing exactly what was going to happen in the future and the need to have "a plan" if things change. But working with these people and some additional research I've undertaken over the past 3 months have revealed 7 key changes that are going to happen which will create and sustain an "uncertain" marketplace for the foreseeable future. This is primarily in the UK marketplace but I've found parallels in the US and Germany.
The 7 key changes are;
- Labour costs are going to rise significantly
- Margins are going to reduce
- Some prices will rise - mainly on professional services
- Business owners will be forced to take less from their businesses
- Experience will become more important than youthful exuberance
- Real time face to face business communications will start to replace basic telephony
- Investment in IT will be more important than investment in marketing
All the above just make the very uncertain world we wake up to every morning just that little more difficult to be confident in.
Confidence is going to be very important in every aspect of how business owners grow and maintain their competitive advantage.
Over the coming weeks I intend on focussing on how owners of VSB's (Very Small Businesses), and SME's (Small and Medium Enterprises) will need to radically change the way they think about how they invest in marketing and what they must do to give themselves the best chance of survival.
The next 2-5 years will see a dramatic change in the UK and possibly other international markets concerning the impending changes that have already begun. Those who sit on their hands might survive just as well as those who grasp some of the above. What I can guarantee is that if you get stuck in the middle ground with a half hearted response to just a few of these major changes you and your business will be in trouble.