The Internet has changed how we view our world, it has changed how we spend our time and our money, and it has most definitely changed the way we do business. The future of business is getting more and more sci-fi, it’s hard to compute (no pun intended), but we are headed to a world we used to watch in movies.
Get ready for Facebook‘s virtual currency, Facebook Credits, will become the official coin of the realm beginning July 1, 2011. Imagine that, being able to purchase products and services with Twitter and FaceBook Credits, next you will be able to pay your mortgage with those credits. I’m all for that. In fact, in November 2010 The Dallas Mavericks Basketball team offered Free FaceBook Credits for Twitter Followers. Soon you and I will be able to make direct deposits to our bank accounts without ever having to go there, you will do it on your mobile device anytime, anywhere. Payroll direct deposit is archaic compared to the swipe technology of today. You will also make most of your purchase with this swipe technology on your smart-phone, it is predict 60% of all commerce will be done in this fashion.
The real future of business will be Virtual Reality and Hologram technology, but that technology is still developing, we will shop in our homes and never have to go out into the masses of people. Imagine being able to try on clothes without ever actually having to try on clothes, say what! Social Networks will handle all the market research, the data will be staggering, there’s a business to start, organize all that data and sell it back to the business sector. eMarketer has a similar model, they are a great resource but, you better have some coin to get the real valuable data. As Gerd Leonhard of The Futures Agency says, Data is the New Oil.
We are moving to a place where you can’t hide, you can’t lie, and you can’t have a bad product or service if you want to survive in this new business landscape. The world is becoming more and more mobile and social, that’s a hot tip for you right there.
So how do you succeed in the future of business? At a high level it’s simple really, grow bigger ears, get very mobile and social, and above all else, engage with the people formerly known as consumers, it’s not business as usual kids, pay attention. The business landscape is getting more open & free, that’s the business model, Open & Free. It’s an access first society, people want access more than they ever want to be sold and forced to pay upfront. Figure out how to give people access, and you will find the revenue follows, the toll booth is no longer at the front gate, it should be almost invisible and seamless.
Would you make purchase with Twitter and FaceBook Credits?
Attention is a funny thing, kids are masters of getting as much as they need, but how do businesses master that same art without becoming annoying? Sometimes annoying works well for advertising campaigns, but do they win friends and influence people? Do they get your attention, or just your anger?
Some people, like me, can’t walk into a room quietly, we naturally draw attention to ourselves, probably because we are insecure or some other mental issue. I don’t know why it is, but it is. I love people, and I love helping them when I can, but that doesn’t get attention the way I would like it to. It might have something to do with my opening : )
I’m going to use me as the scape goat in this post, as an example of what some of us are dealing with. I hope it stirs some emothions in you and makes you think.
People and business are not the same, they have two different personalities and yet some of the same needs. When a person fills the role of business owner, they look at the world completely differently than when they are at home. OK maybe, but usually. The business owner, if they are doing well, tend to have healthy happy relationships with staff, and the staff reflect that out to those who are dealing with them. In a perfect world that’s probably very true, but not always the norm.
Every business has the same need, they want your attention, and those who figure out what gets your attention tend to survive longer. I’m generalizing, but you get the idea. So how does a business of one get your attention the same way a business / Brand or many people do? It still comes down to need doesn’t it. There has to be a need for me to look your way, and more importantly, a compelling need for me to find out more about what you are offering. Not all businesses need my services, they do, but don’t realize they do, why? Urgency. I may show you a tidal wave, but it’s not going to get here till 2014, I’ll wait and see mentality sets in, and well, you know what happens. So how do I get your attention?
I’m not a kid any longer, so I can’t get your attention the way kids do, and I can only cry wolf so many times before you take my work seriously, so what will it take? Why do most small business have a tougher time over bigger businesses? Probably because big businesses have more resources and can buy attention at a level small businesses or individuals can’t. It’s not a level playing field by those terms is it?
If it’s that hard now, what will it be like when another 3 – 4 billion people come online? If you haven’t noticed, we are moving away from the Bricks & Mortar style of consuming, we are buying more and more through our smart phones than ever before. That is going to increase, and it’s not going away as if it was a fad like Bell Bottom Blue Jeans.
My tag line should be, I SEE DEAD BUSINESSES! Why? Because most small businesses know the tidal wave is coming, if they don’t, they aren’t listening. It’s as if they are looking the other way, hoping it won’t actually happen. Fear is an immobilizing thing most of the time, but that doesn’t mean what I’m sharing isn’t real or going to happen.
You should be doing three things in your business right now, no matter what size it is, become social, become very mobile, and be prepared to serve a portion of the 4 billion people yet to come. So I ask you, how do I get your attention? The better question might be, forget about me, how do you get the the attention of 4 billion yet to come? Attention is the currency of our future, learn how to get it.