It is not so long ago that from the early hours we were used to the sound of milk floats in our streets. When I was very small, our milk was delivered by a milkman with a horse-drawn float. You don’t see many milkmen or women delivering now. I think there are one or two customers in our area, but most people get their milk in the supermarket because it is convenient when doing the weekly shop. Some might debate whether that is progress, but it doesn’t matter. The world has changed.
I hear business owners complaining about Amazon who are apparently ruining the book trade, at least according to them. Of course they do sell a lot of books and e-readers, and many bookshops where people used to browse are struggling. However, Amazon does provide an outlet for independent booksellers to sell through.
I am not “defending” Amazon. They are part of the new world in which we live. They were a novelty when I first bought books from them in 1995, which were not published in the UK. Now they sell books and almost everything else including cat food at good prices, and they are convenient. No one would wish to travel and to spend more to keep someone in business who cannot adapt.
I do not mean to be unkind, but there is not a lot of call for basket-weavers except for specialist craft fairs and that is because there is not a lot of demand for wicker baskets. We have to offer what people actually want, give them value and allow to have their product or service with the least effort and the most comfort.
When I were a lad…
When I first worked in tax, we completed all the Tax Returns by hand. Two or three decades ago software allowed these to be prepared on computers and of course, saved, potentially altered and amended all without crossings out or Tippex.
Some older tax preparers retired rather than adapt to use computers. Even in the last ten years, “professionals” really did fill in Tax Returns by hand. Even without the earlier deadlines for submission of paper returns, the businesses of these old-fashioned people ceased to be cost-effective.
Why are people not prepared to adapt rather than lose their businesses? My father is over ninety and orders his shopping on-line and browses the website of his favourtite football team? Technology can be mastered by most people.
Keeping our eyes peeled
I think it unlikely that businesses are still failing because they are anti-computers and anti-technology, I do know that we all have to keep an eye out for trends, follow where our businesses are going, and sometimes realise that we are in a dying sector and get out or move to ride the wave.
Businesses must adapt or they will wither away. We all need to anticipate change and be ready, don’t you agree?