After a particularly busy cycle of activity, business owners used to say, “Oh well, back to business as usual”. The extremes of a busy Christmas were usually followed by January sales and then a summer lull while everyone went to the beach. Those extremes were followed by regular trade with a remarkable consistency.
Not any more.
When people talk about disruption to business, it’s not just about Uber and AirBnB, technology and the internet, it’s about the end of business as usual. The new normal is that there is no-new-normal.
Complacency is the death of business in the modern era and nobody is immune to it. That lull in trade after the sales period isn’t guaranteed to return to “business as usual” anymore. That lull may actually be the new normal and if you don’t do something about it, you might soon be referring to that lull as the good old days before the slide!
Just ask former internet darling, Twitter, who’s 2013 IPO valued the business at US$48b but in June this year the market placed it’s worth at a relatively low $10b. Imagine losing 80% of your equity in just three years! Markets move incredible fast and as business owners we need to be on top of changes in consumer behavior and preferences.
The only way you can do that is to talk to consumers. What do you think of when you hear the name [insert brand name here]? What do you like about [insert brand name here]? If you ask the right questions and listen carefully you can read the market trends and devise strategies to cope with them. It may be frightening but it’s way less frightening than not knowing what’s going on.
Because once you know what consumers are thinking, you can act.