March 29, 2012

The One Thing We Can Count On – Change – A Changing Market – Case Study Chapter One

The Internet has changed so much about our businesses and the market(s) we sell to, no matter which one(s) we are in.  Adapting to the changes is the key to being able to survive in the future.  I have seen four business environment changes (ice age type changes) in my adult life (the 4th being the current one).  Some companies survived because they were adaptive through entrepreneurship (dictatorship) control; some companies survived by refining their business model, sometimes through brute force and several mistakes until they get it right and then sometimes the survivor is just new entrepreneurial opportunists.

The natural tendency of change is towards chaos. It is imperative to focus efforts towards the vision. It is almost impossible that any complex change can be managed with any rigid structure and then deliver successful results - for change to succeed, frequent adjustments must be made – a fluid plan (of course, there are several MBAs and consultants, who have never done, who will tell me differently). The art of success and management is to create harmony, order and direction from chaos.

I (the opportunist) am going to create a series of blog entries (my business plan) defining an opportunity (the changed market) in the local printing business.  I expect this to be both fun and rewarding to all the Time4 and LightsOn offices.  It’s somewhat complex (the opportunity) so I’ll be documenting my hypothesis and tests in small chunks.

I have been nurturing these ideas with the Time4 offices for the last six months and have started rolling out different segments.  The first was (and continues to be) establishing an SEO presence in the markets being targeted – success – we have 1st page Google presence nationally in several specific product searches – sometimes two, sometimes three, and a few times four different positions in the Top 10.  Maybe we should have been in the SEO business – NOT – way too much incompetent noise.

March 9, 2012

Similarities between Mother Nature and Our Economy

Within nature there is the unwritten rule of “Survival of the Fittest”.  During fat times species flourish, populations grow and animals get fat.  Then Mother Nature unleashes her fury; there are Droughts, Hurricanes, Volcanoes, Tornadoes, Earth Quakes and Asteroids (Duck) creating despair and a  shortage of food and shelter.  After the fury the strongest, most innovative, most persistent and most prepared survive weeding out the weak and making for a better, stronger balance in nature for the times ahead.  Mother Nature’s Fury repeats itself.  We recognize it as a thinning process and as terrible and cruel as it is, we accept it.

Between 3 and 4 years ago, I was doing volunteer work for SCORE and frequently spoke to small businesses about the difficulty of a recession (Mother Nature’s Fury).  Recessions are about survival for many businesses and those that do survive because they were strong, innovative, persisted and prepared will find there is less competition and more opportunity as the sun begins to shine again.

The sun is shining.