Monday, April 1, 2013

Survival Not Manditory

Neither rabbits nor your business needs to survive.
It is nice to be part of the Easter Season.  The reflection and fasting of lent gives way to spring and growth of a new year.  I have spent the week working the phone and attempting to drum up business.  We are in the middle of a site revision right now and working with the local chamber of commerce to help grow our customer base. Something struck me this week and it was a report from showing there is a generational gap between the three major cohorts of people in business.  As a small business owner if you don’t adapt to these generational differences you might as well prepare for your going out of business sale.

First, baby boomers according to the Mitek systems use e-mail less than generation X workers and even less than generation Y workers.  So this means when it comes to communicating information the more senior cohort of business users communicate less using technology than their more junior partners.  This trend is even more pronounced when it comes to instant messaging and laptop use.  It seems that Boomers use desktop computers more than they use laptops by a significant margin.  This means there is a serious disconnect about how computers do business.  For people of Generation X, like me, and the younger generation Y, computing is not a fixed activity.  Computing takes place in coffee shops, on the train and on planes.  If you can find an electrical plug and wireless internet you are going to find smart ambitious people conducting business.

The most interesting part of the survey covered mobile phones and smart phones.  As of 2011, 83 percent of Americans own a cellphone or a smartphone.  When you break down this cell phone usage by cohort something interesting happens.  Baby Boomers use a smartphone in the workplace 35% less than generation X and a whopping 73% less than generation Y.  This means that baby boomers are missing out a huge business opportunity to sell to this younger group because they are not using the technology and tools which generation Y is most comfortable.

As a technology professional, I find this to be madness.  You want to increase our market share and sales but you do not understand the means to reach these new customers.  That is because you are not using the tools that these people take for granted.  I also notice that when I speak with business leaders and share with them this information they blanch because since they don’t own a smart phone they do not think that reaching customers by it is important.  It is a deadly cognitive bias.

W. Edward Deming used to say, “It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.”  I am seeing this increasingly in small and medium sized business.  Cloud based computing, smart phones, and serious generational differences in the use of technology mean that if you cannot adapt then you are not going to survive.  How are you going to put together viral marketing campaigns, adaptive web sites, and mobile phone optimized campaigns if you can don’t understand the importance of them?  How will be able to manage your inventory and sales contacts in real time if you don’t have systems in place to do so?  Finally, how are you going to adapt to change if you don’t understand Agile methodologies and techniques?

This is where we at E3 systems come in.  We help you understand this brave new world and act as your guides through the wilderness or smartphones, social media, and business agility.  Contact us today and we will help.

Easter is a time of rebirth but it can also be a grim reminder of our mortality particularly if you are a business person.  Survival is not mandatory but E3 systems is willing to help.  Give us a call and find out today.

Until Next time.