The Race, the Chasm and the Opportunities

This title of this post was inspired by C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It has nothing to do with the book or the movie, but I just liked the “jingle” of it.

The Race

Well to me there isn’t just one race happening. There are too many to count, but a couple of the main races I see involve replacing the old order of things. Newspapers, TV advertising and basically any old way of trying to grab attention are all going by the way side. Lots of things are trying to take their place.

I’m shocked by all the new ventures popping up. The local directories, the news aggregators and the organizational taxonomies are trying to replace local media outlets. This race seems very sloppy to me because the race is into the unknown.

When I worked in financial services they always used the buggy whip analogy. The mass production of automobiles changed the buggy whip industry forever. Those who stayed in the old model perished, while those who adapted and changed won- until now at least.

Well somebody still has to get all the attention that used to go to TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and the like. Who will it be? To me it seems much more natural for the social media tools and communities to take the place of the old media, but only the future will tell.

The Chasm

The Chasm

Usually the term gap is more commonly used. There is a “gap” in where we are versus where we want to be. Gap is far too weak to describe what we’re entering now. I would call it a chasm. A technical training and digital information chasm. Much of the population is on one side and a smaller percentage is on the other. I still meet people who are on dial up. I know people who don’t use ATM or debit cards. I have friends and family members that don’t have a cell phone much less an iphone or blackberry. I know people who aren’t comfortable using the computer or Internet much less cloud based tools or social media applications.

The problem is that they will have no choice soon. What happens when they just stop developing film at Walmart or Walgreens? What happens when desktop software is virtually non existent? (When’s the last time that you physically bought software on a CD?) What happens when the local newspaper goes digital or even worse goes under? I think about my grandmother and other family members. If you sneeze on many local papers they would disintegrate.

This huge gap in training presents massive challenges. If the news is coming to us via Twitter, through blogs and within online communities; what about those who are not there yet? These mediums are cheaper, faster and more efficient at capturing attention and disseminating information, therefore I don’t believe they’re going away. So what happens to all those on the wrong side of the chasm. How do we get them to the other side? It won’t be much fun if they’re not involved. It won’t be very effective for companies and organizations trying to communicate with them either. This leads to my last point.

The Opportunities

So there is the huge chasm in techical training, digital coaching and delivery systems. What do we do? I don’t think sending a whole country of baby boomers, grandparents and even some generation xer’s back to school is the answer. It has to be much quicker than that.

The speed of progress is so fast. Even if you’re in it and understand, it still makes your head spin. Imagine if a computer, a digital camera, a cell phone and getting online frighten you to death, how much more intimidating to get on Twitter?

If you come up with a great idea, product, service or cause; you might want to put at least half your focus on equipping the masses to use it. I don’t know many good examples but the Apple store comes to mind.

Acres of Diamonds

This lesson for small businesses and non profits is from Dr. Russell Conwell’s famous little book “Acres of Diamonds”. Take a few minutes and see how it applies to what you’re doing or not doing. Don’t miss this one!

It’s not your customers job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have a chance to forget you – Patricia Fripp

Downsize Your Business

Not in the files and storage room sense. Not in the set up of the lobby or the layout of the office furniture. Those are good ideas but that’s not what I’m shooting for here.

I’m talking about recreating a new business model that works in a down economy. Reducing expenses, streamlining processes, organizing digital tools, empowering employees, repositioning marketing dollars- that’s the ticket in this economy. More with less.

Now if you’re lean and mean and flexible, you can move and adapt quicker than the competition. Even if there is no competition you can adjust to your customers demands. Instead of building products and figuring out how to market them, you can listen to what people are asking for and give it to them. You can create a more compelling story.

Instead of focusing on up-sizing revenue, profits and cash all the time, how about a few years  of breaking down current fat business models and making them lean. Costco and Zappos come to mind.

The road to wealth lies in augmenting our means or diminishing our wants, either will do, but the quickest way is to do both- Ben Franklin

Johnie Marketer meets Sally Service

If you’re Johnie Marketer then you need to make sure your small business or non profit has Sally Service. If all those people you bring in the front door are going straight out the back, then what’s the point. We all know it’s easier to sell an existing customer something than it is to go and get a new customer from scratch. Well why is all the emphasis placed on marketing?

Sally Service has a big place in your business. If she’s not there then Jonhnie Marketer, can sometimes do more damage than good. Also Sarah Systems should be somewhere in the mix. If your systems and methods of operation are not consistent your competition will destroy you on price in this recessionary environment. It’s hard enough if you have good service, but if you don’t have Sarah Systems then you probably won’t have Sally Service. If you do have Sarah and Sally doing their best then you’ve gotta think Johnie Marketer’s job just got a whole lot easier.

I have an idea. Let’s shoot for remarkable service to go along with the remarkable marketing. Then eventually you can spend your time refining your business because if it’s remarkable as Seth Godin says it will spread. If it’s boring it will not. I am going to stop writing now and go work on making my blogs, marketing, systems and service more remarkable. Not enough people are talking about them yet. I’d like to help you make your company remarkable too. Interested Click here.