When a room in your home doesn’t serve you—the space doesn’t work for how you use the room; the furniture is too big, too small, too inappropriate for the task; and the overall atmosphere is too closed, too open, too shabby, too stressful—you have a couple of options. You can rearrange the furniture, maybe throw up a coat of paint, and that will help to a degree and in the short term. Or you can knock down some walls, replace the furniture, and completely redesign the decor—basically reinvent the room to serve your purpose, and to serve others who use that room, in every possible way.
We face the same choice in our lives, our careers, and especially in our businesses. For established and new entrepreneurs faced with globalization, rapidly changing technology, and the seemingly never-ending fallout from the Great Recession, simply rearranging our businesses just isn’t going to cut it. Restructuring, downsizing, pinching pennies—these are not enough to survive, much less thrive. We have to transform how we do business, and we have to do it now.
Seth Godin discussed an aspect of this in a blog post that is just as relevant today, giving examples of changes that have required businesses to do more than just rearrange their business models: mail to email; books to ebooks; Visa to Paypal; direct mail to permission marketing, and so on. As he points out: “The question that gets asked about technology, the one that is almost always precisely the wrong question is, ‘How does this advance help our business?’ The correct question is, ‘How does this advance undermine our business model and require us/enable us to build a new one?’”
Not only must we be lifelong learners of technological advances, we must be prepared to look at all the new possibilities for our businesses and constantly reinvent to take advantage of them. Adapting the technology to our old methods and perspectives simply won’t work long term. We are the ones who must adapt.
What possibilities in the latest technology do you see for inspiring an entrepreneurial reinvention—or a brand new business?