I’ve been in business 40 years this year. Business today is like a galatic outerspace compared to the redbrick suburbia in which we opened our doors in 1976.
Ahead of the wave, we saw the opening of our art studio as a sign of a coming trend.
As a graphic designer, I had a little talent, some expertise, and the training to do what others could not do unless they were similarly taught. Competition wasn’t fierce and we were soon overrun with work. We put up our prices and still there was more work than we could handle. We did no marketing.
Ten years later, despite newly immigrating and without any networks, I easily found work at $90 an hour — roughly $200 an hour today. Few queried the bills, and I did no marketing.
In 1987, we bought our first Mac, a 512k with a removable floppy disk. It cost $5000. We were estactic.
We still had too much work. We employed a designer, then another and by 2006 we were a team of 10. Our business grew by 23 percent a year on average. The difference? Business development had become 50 percent of of our lives.
During this and the next decade, we saw other shifts as computers became everyone’s business tool. Most noteable was how our work and our worth became less valued and worse paid.
We developed an in house joke about our clients: ‘they believe they can do what we do, if only they had the time, talent and expertise’. They queried our quotes and questioned our invoices.
We were bewildered. The new reality rocked our previously steady boat. We cast about for advice. Unlike today, we found none..
From instinct rather than knowledge, we began to think about how to reposition ourselves as people of influence. Caught between change and doing what we knew, progress was slow and often unfocused.
We would have been well primed a decade ago for the Key Person of Influence accelerator program, and the sage insights of Daniel Priestley, author and co-founder of DENT.
Recently, I attended a workshop he ran called The Waves of Change.
The decade 2006 to 2016 heralded unprecedented change which obliterated the existing business landscape. But according to Daniel, we haven’t seen anything yet.
As he reflected on a strange, contemporary world, he also observed that people who would have been doing well a few years ago weren’t anymore. The business journey has become much tougher.
He warned us that we need to prepare for the next decade, because, ‘the world will go crazy and you’re either going to be surfing the wave of change or swept out to sea behind it’.
He explained that four colliding trends will cause this tsunami in our business world. Listening to him, I thought ‘forget about just rocking our boat, this is capsize and sink or go for the ride of your life’.
According to Daniel, this collision of events begins as the baby boomers start to retire.
This gigantic population, whose spending has dictated every industry trend for the last five decades, starts retreating into a life of reduced income every day from 2016, and for the next eight years.
Contrast that with the upcoming Millenial generation. They don’t value much of anything the Boomers value, particularly the properties they’ll have to liquidate to free up cash. Even if you’re not an economist, that suggests a Richter scale shake up of the status quo.
Add technology changing the way we work, the way we live, and the disappearance of current employment structures, and how we’ll go about work will look very different tomorrow from today.
Finally there is government austerity, to which I’d add government fear.
Governments can’t afford what they could once. They’re also reluctant, lacking the will to make the right changes for the right reasons for the people.
Daniel revealed several ideas for propelling businesses ahead of the wave – among them becoming a business on purpose versus a business in a place. He went on to explain why having a well enrolled team is critical to lifestyle business success.
Many speak of purpose but don’t really understand why it matters so much.
But, I believe, like Daniel, that if you want to power way out in front of this freaky wave, you’re going to need clarity of purpose. And clarity of principles, those unshakeable laws that govern why you do what you do for whom. Here’s why…
Because together they deliver intention.
Intention is only about action. It’s James Bond on a mission. It knows where it’s going and why, and that drives fast forward motion.
Forward motion sheds everything extaneous to your very best business offer for your very best people.
You can’t spin in circles, or back track, or suffer Multiple Possibility Disorder when you’re in forward motion.
Working with principles gives you insights into the mistakes your best people will make before they’re fortunate enough to find you. Knowing this means you can filter straight to your key messages and the most compelling stories that support them.
Coherent and consistent through blogging, speaking, whitepapers, books and social media, your positioning and the communications that support that promise further strengthen your business DNA.
All the while, you build an armoury of the best business building attributes — trust, rapport, credibility, profile, and influence to attract, convert, and sustain the clients you most want to work with.
Just the craft you need to fly ahead of Daniel’s predicted tsunami.
Looking back, perhaps those young women nearly 40 years ago, also understood what it meant to take the right risks ahead of the waves of change yet to come.