I believe that we are going through a massive transition as a civilization.
In fact, I dare say it’s not too dissimilar to what the Renaissance was to the Dark Ages or the Industrial Revolution to the Agricultural Age.
I’ve felt for a long time that the period from 2010 to 2015 is a transitional “grace period” whereby the market will let you figure out how to transform your business and your life to match these new trends.
After that, I believe that a lot of people will be left behind while a small percentage of savvy entrepreneurs flourish. From 2015 onward, you better have your house in order as the new, enhanced, digital economy really starts to take flight.
What that means is you have only this year, 2014 to really shift the way you make money and live your life. Get it right and the next 10 years will feel like you’ve got super powers, get it wrong and the next decade will feel like you’ve been robbed.
Here are the top seven things I believe every entrepreneur should focus on for 2014
1. Free stuff
These days, every business is expected to do a lot for free. In whatever niche you are, I can assure you that it is the business with the most free stuff that will corner the market. People want free apps, free video, free PDFs, free advice, free samples… the list goes on and on.
The good old days of “I’m £150/hr, take it or leave it” are over… trust me, they’ll leave.
2. Your business is ALSO a media business
This follows from the previous point. How else are you going to cope with the demand for free stuff that’s coming your way if you are not pumping out media content? You’re no longer a “widget business”; you’re also a “widget media business”.
Be it dentists, architects, fitness instructors or management consultants, everyone needs to master the art of constantly pumping out photos, videos, slides, podcasts and software.
3. Your business is an IT business too
“We’re not very techie.” That right there is the sound of a business before it dies in 2014.
Maybe you aren’t particularly tech savvy but someone on your team better be. You need to be fast at building web sites, collecting meaningful data and then powerfully using that data. Basically, you have to be adept at optimising your business online.
You need to know what’s worth paying for, what’s worth doing in-house and what you can bolt together for free or almost free. It shocks me to discover how many entrepreneurs are unknowingly still paying over £2000 for something that is now available for under £100.
A step beyond that, it amazes me how many businesses have 7 staff when 5 would do if they had a simple piece of software, effectively they are paying £60,000 p.a. too much!
4. Your business must engage people on a mobile device
This is the year that mobile disrupts everything. The mobile is ten times more disruptive than the PC could have ever dreamed to be and this will affect every industry. When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and neither of you looked at your phone? 2009?
Most of us are Googling, updating and surfing our way through conversations constantly. This means your business must be optimised for mobile. Your new clients are going to discover you on their mobile device first. They might hear about you in a conversation and search for you that very minute; what comes up in that search determines your income.
5. Your business depends on your brand
I’m not talking about your business’ brand; I mean your brand, as in you who’s reading this.
Very few businesses can get away with being faceless entities anymore. Like it or not, you will be Googled before every big deal. If you don’t seem credible, you’ll miss your big break.
You will also lose out if you litter the internet with cheesy, pointless garb or you try to make yourself look like an expert when you actually aren’t one. The truth always comes out…
6. Time-for-money is over
Before the industrial age, most people were paid on results. If you brought a bag of potatoes to the market, you got paid for the bag of potatoes and no one cared how long it took you to grow them. ‘Attendance-based compensation’ was an industrial revolution concept designed to standardise pay for workers on a factory line.
However, if you’re not being paid for results or products sold, you’re going to be devalued. Track what you are really worth and get paid for it.
7. Selling information is behind us
Selling information products is a thing of the past. The truth is that these days, people are drowning in high quality, instantly accessible information. I mean, most people have eBooks and audio podcasts by Richard Branson that they haven’t gotten around to reading so, um, what makes you think they want to buy your stuff for $39?
Don’t get it twisted though, I’m a huge fan of releasing books, articles, podcasts and membership programs, but forget trying to make money off them. Your money will come from implementing the ideas you’re giving away for people who don’t have the time.
This year could be a pivotal year for you but only if you get onto the front foot. You were an early adopter on Facebook in 2007 – so what! You had a website years before your competition in 2003 – so what! You were tweeting back when Stephen Fry was the most followed celebrity – so what!
You can’t afford to rest on your laurels this year. You have to innovate, advance and be ready for when this whole thing really kicks off in the not too distant future.
Daniel Priestley is a successful entrepreneur, event producer and author of ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’.
Want to learn more?
KPI are running their accredited 8-hour Brand Accelerator event in February 2014 with some of Australia’s most well respected entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Melbourne: 7th February, Sydney: 13th February and Brisbane: 28th February.
As one of their event partners, KPI has offered Anthill readers a 40% discount on the retail ticket price, with sale ticket prices starting from $39 for general admission.
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