SMBs and technology change: How to survive and thrive
New technology is set to disrupt many industry sectors in 2020. Jo Cribb takes business owners through some steps to ensure they are well prepared for the future. Remember the anticipation of picking up your travel photos from the chemist and hoping that you had taken at least one shot of the Eiffel Tower that didn’t […]
New technology is set to disrupt many industry sectors in 2020. Jo Cribb takes business owners through some steps to ensure they are well prepared for the future.
Remember the anticipation of picking up your travel photos from the chemist and hoping that you had taken at least one shot of the Eiffel Tower that didn’t have a thumb across it? Or spending Saturday afternoon taping your favourite songs off the radio trying, often unsuccessfully, to cut out the announcer’s voice?
Our children and our children’s children will not have these experiences because they are based on obsolete technology. Just like DVDs, dot matrix printers and dial up modems; cassette tapes and film cameras are a thing of the past. We need to look no further than the phone in our pockets to be reminded of how quickly we have embraced change and how, mostly, such change has made our lives better.
But what if you owned the DVD store or operated the film processing machinery? Technology change has not been so kind to you.
And what if the technology change we have experienced so far was just old school change?
Experts say we now are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution where exponential advances in computing power will drive change in most facets of our life and business. Computing power is said to double every two years and this will drive advances in nanotechnology, 3D printing, biotech, robotics, genetics and many processes in manufacturing and engineering. Advances in one area will likely drive advances in others in unpredictable ways.
This makes it tough for business owners. It means disruption to your industry could happen quickly and – given the nature of exponential change curves – we may not even see it coming.
But in interviewing experts of technology for my recently co-authored book, I found there are some steps business owners can take to ensure you are well prepared for your future.
While you will be sending much of your time working in your business, now, more than ever it is important to spend time working on your business. In particular, this means investing time in understanding what is happening around you in terms of technology, not just in your industry but in related ones. The tech change that might disrupt you is probably already available somewhere, but is just not obvious yet.
Think about who is in your business network – are they people in similar roles in similar businesses with similar experiences to you? If so, take some time to extend your networks into related industries and people who have different backgrounds and experiences to you. This is an important way of understanding what is happening around you. If we just talk to people who think like us and do similar things, we could miss important opportunities and threats to our businesses.
The tech leaders I interviewed had also taken some time to think about what they wanted in terms of their lifestyle. Do you have a plan for your business for the next five years? As opportunities and threats to your business emerge, you will be better placed if you are clear about what you want from your business for you and your family.
The final piece of advice from the tech leaders was to look after yourself. Change can be hard. Sleeping, exercising and relaxing might be the best investment for your future business success.
Jo Cribb is the co-author of ‘Don’t Worry About the Robots: How to survive and thrive in the New world of work’. She has a portfolio career that involves consulting, coaching and directorships.