Scary Stuff: Innovate or Die
What are you going to do in 2016 that is going to make you even more relevant in 2017? What are you going to do to create the customer experience needed to ensure that you can compete and flourish long term?
Are you going to curse the online challengers who are driving you crazy? Or, are you going to out-think them, out-serve them and make yourself irreplaceable to your clients? How are you going to write the story that your customers will want to be a part of?
You don’t need to fade away. You just need to deliver on the new expectations of your customers who are being spoiled by disrupters, like Amazon. This is no time to rest on our past accomplishments, as we saw with Kodak—a company which, on March 31, 1999, employed 83,000 people and had market capitalization of almost $21 billion, went bankrupt, while Facebook purchased a little company with 12 employees and no revenues for $1 billion in 2012 (Instagram). Kodak failed to innovate and stubbornly stuck to film as the world turned digital.
Your customers are getting younger and you probably are not. But that doesn’t mean your thinking needs to stay in the past. Learn new skills. Accept the fact that your customers are going to research online. They’re going to look for reviews online. They may prefer that you communicate with them through text messages rather than phone or email.
You must avoid the fates of AOL, Blockbuster, Barnes and Noble, and MySpace. Focus on what your customers want and concentrate on reinventing yourself constantly. That is work that is never done. You can be the disrupter. You can be the leader. Write your new story—the story about how you do the hard work of innovating daily to create more value and more meaning for your customers.