Competition for your online customers is going to get tougher
Business is beginning to boom again. Business owners and leaders are reporting growth, when for years they have spoken about lack of sales or static business. Surveys of business confidence are showing that companies are positive for the first time in several years. There is little doubt that business is on the up.
Indeed, when running a web success workshop the other day, the people in the room made this very point for me. As everyone introduced themselves they made a comment about how business was improving and that they were the most positive they had been in years.
And there lies the problem.
When business was this positive, before the crash of 2008 – six years ago – social media was in its infancy and the iPad was two years from being launched. When business was last this positive it was 2004, apart from a minor blip in 2009, according to the Business Confidence Monitor. In other words, when business was last as confident as it is now almost everything we know and love online and use every day had not been invented.
That means businesses now face a completely different world in which their confidence is placed.
With confidence comes the ability for people to start-up new ventures. With confidence comes the ability for people to develop new products. With confidence comes the ability for companies to enter new markets.
And, thanks to the modern Internet, with its cloud computing and social sharing, it can do all this much more cheaply than was ever possible back in 2004.
In other words, the new boom in business confidence is going to see a massive surge in competition, because it is cheaper and easier to build new businesses or new products and services than ever before.
Are you ready for more competition?
Is your business ready for the online competition that is inevitable now that business confidence is high? Are your ready for the onslaught? Are your Internet systems and processes robust enough to cope?
One thing is sure – the online world will bring you more competition. But what is not so sure is where it will come from. After all retailers did not invent Amazon, and the fashion industry did not invent Asos. Your competition could come from a completely unexpected quarter, anywhere in the world.
That means, these days, we need to be more aware, more alert and more informed than ever before. Staying one-step ahead is now essential if we are to survive in business.
And what does that mean? It suggests that we need to devote more time to business intelligence, to staying informed through networking or attending conferences and seminars and through reading as much as possible.
Business confidence in the era of a modern Internet is uncharted territory. It is time to batten down those hatches and prepare for the fight ahead.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+