“10 Things Your Competition Is Doing To Put You Out Of Business”
On February 23, The Washington Network’s president, Rick Endres, spoke to Rotary Club of Alexandria. While Rick is notorious for his wit and humor, and his ability to slip photos of his two young daughters into any presentation, he also delivered a warning and a rallying cry to the gathered business leaders.
He called it: “10 Things Your Competition Is Doing To Put You Out Of Business This Year… And What You Can Do About It.”
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He began by talking about Alvin Toffler’s three waves (agricultural age, industrial age, information age), then added a fourth: the conceptual age. In it, businesses must develop strong differentiating concepts, take ownership of their intellectual capital, and shed other functions — or fall to a wave of cheap competition who can produce the same goods and services for less.
In Rick’s words, borrowed from Rob Slee: Control the process, don’t own it. That is, own your intellectual capital – the ideas that really make your business different and better – and hire experts to do whatever is not specific to your concept. Chances are, you already pay outside consultants or services for accounting/bookkeeping, legal work, HR, building maintenance, trucking and logistics, some of your manufacturing, web development and other things. What can you do to push the envelope even further?
For instance: Do you manage your systems IT in-house? Should you pay full-time staff for routine computer network maintenance, when outside vendors can do it better and cheaper?
Rick’s “10 Things” included ways to jump-start productivity, protect business continuity, hire better talent, use social media, provide better customer service, reduce overhead and more.
The key point: In the conceptual age, business managers face radical and exponential change. A lot of it is driven by the best application of technology. If you don’t continually change, innovate and adapt, you risk being put out of business by companies that do.
And yet, he managed to keep his audience laughing throughout.
Maybe it was nervous laughter?