Today's Small Business, Tomorrow's Global Giant :: How Experience-based Products and Services Will Dominate Sustainable Growth
- By Faisal Hoque, Founder & CEO, BTM Corporation | Author of The Power of Convergence
Today's Small Business, Tomorrow's Global Giant
Innovation is all about rethinking things.
John Deere didn't just toss his arms in the air and blame the rich Midwestern soil that made iron and wooden plows hard to maneuver and cumbersome to clean. He created a cast-steel plow that revolutionized agriculture and cultivated a world-leading iconic brand. Amanda Hocking didn't get discouraged by the rejection letters from big-name publishers, and launched a multi-million dollar career using social media. Think about the "NO" you won't accept and pursue it differently.
A new approach can transform a business, making it fun for employees and customers alike, including those who will never walk through your doors.
Small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs have been influential in myriad economies throughout the world for centuries. Profound changes in demographics, geography, and distribution now influence all commerce.
We are doing business in an experience-based economy, in which owners must create positive memories for customers or they will go elsewhere in search of a better experience. Those emotional memories, whether good or bad, become the brand you're selling. In a commodity market, it's essential to remember every customer's name or provide whatever extra perk it is that keeps them coming back.
While Europe has harnessed the web and social media far better than the U.S., China’s rising and well-educated English-speaking middle class is bursting with small business owners who know they can be successful doing business internationally and are getting backed by the government support. India’s technically savvy middle class is absorbing tasks America's skilled white-collar workers once performed.
Small business owners must innovate to compete in a world of entrepreneurs who typically speak English and consider the Internet another limb on their bodies. They must strive to survive. By doing so, they can maintain their vital roles in the new world economy and perhaps even resurrect it.
It won't be easy, but neither is failure. You wear many hats: management, sales, marketing, customer service, distribution and finance. You can barely assume responsibility for yet another job as great as economic resurrection.
Meantime, small business owners are approaching a cliff they cannot see. A growing number of small businesses have stopped growing. They didn't act quickly as their landscape changed. Their once-thriving niche has been reinvented. Worse, their once-loyal customers gladly left them without so much as a goodbye. Look around. Independent bookstores which served as a community for everyone from students to hipsters to startup stars to seniors, the corner travel agent who made sure you got the best deal and an upgrade, the insurance agent who offered a customized package to protect your house, your car and your family, the local florist who remembered your mother likes lilies for Mother’s Day and you wife prefers pink roses on Valentine’s Day. They're all endangered, if not extinct.
Your solution: A 360-degree view that tethers everyone in your business to clear goals met daily at each customer contact point, from incoming calls and emails to point-of-purchase and follow-up offers. Most important, this view has one common core: building and maintaining customer affinity. On Facebook, you click the "like" button.
Faisal Hoque is the founder and CEO of BTM Corporation (www.btmcorporation.com). A former senior executive at GE and other multi-nationals, Faisal is an internationally known entrepreneur and thought leader. He has written five management books, established a research think tank, The BTM Institute (www.btminstitute.org), and become a leading authority on CONVERGENCE, innovation, and sustainable growth. For his commitment to business-technology convergence, CIO Quarterly magazine designated him “Mr. Convergence”. In May 2008, the editors of Ziff-Davis Enterprise named him as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Technology. His latest book, The Power of Convergence (www.thepowerofconvergence.com), is now available.
More about the author: www.faisalhoque.com