Adapt, change or your business will die

My Kindle

My Kindle

I have had my own business for nearly eleven years. It hardly seem possible. However, it is not the same business I started. In the beginning I hardly used email to correspond with clients. It wasn’t that I was an old dinosaur; I have been using email since around 1989. No, it is just that it was not what my clients expected back then. Many of them were not computer literate anyway. Some still are not, but we can cater for them.

Eleven years ago I would not send documents for approval by email either. That was largely because we did not have an easy format such as PDF which we have today. I used the telephone a lot more although it is still important to talk to clients, or rather, to listen.

We didn’t receive so much in the way of services through the Government Gateway on-line a decade back. All my clients were local. Now I have clients from the UK to New Zealand and from Honduras to South Africa.

All this is possible because the world has changed, and also necessary because there is less “local” business of the sort which is interesting or profitable. I have adapted and changed because if my business had stayed the same in terms of offerings, service and the way those services were delivered it would have been broke. Milkmen are a rarity because there is no demand. People buy their milk at the supermarket.

I hope I do not seem unkind, but this week I had one of those on-line petition emails from some booksellers who were petitioning for Amazon to pay more tax. Yet I am sure the reason for their knocking Amazon was because Amazon is eating into their business. I feel sorry for the booksellers, but we cannot run our businesses as museum pieces., because we will make no money.

Some booksellers have moved half their premises over to selling coffee to encourage the browsing client, something I first saw this approach in Dallas more than a dozen years ago. I am not sure if this still works, but surely it is the browsing public who would still buy books in bookshops, where they would choose a good read? If you know what book you want you buy it One-Click through Amazon, or it is delivered to your Kindle. You do not go to the High Street to see if the local shop might have it.

In business we cannot blame others if our sales are weak. We need to change or get out and start anew with something else. How have you changed your business to move with the times?

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