Recently, I had a conversation with a friend in the San Francisco Bay Area who has owned her business for nearly 30 years. After catching up on the family and all our pets, we ended up talking about business. Makes sense since years ago we collaborated on many successful major entertainment events in the Bay Area.
Our conversation was about everyday trends that are changing the face of business. We also talked about the countless number of business owners, sales people, managers and entrepreneurs who choose to live in the place of ?business as usual? without fully understanding how important the impact of trends are on our economy.
Think about some of the trends that have impacted virtually everyone you know. Years ago, with the introduction of ATMs many people were either hesitant to use them or immediately understood the power and benefit that came with the ease of use. No doubt, they changed the face of banking forever.
Actually, I hold the designation as the very first user of the ATM in front of the Bank of America branch in a small town along the Russian River I lived in until 1991. To this day I remember what an exciting moment that was for me and bank personnel. You can tell, sometimes I am easily amused and entertained. And yet, for the town this was a really big deal. It was a turning point.
Since first being introduced, ATMs became as common as VCRs, cassette players, and heated curlers. As with all of the items mentioned, including ATMs, each has been phased out by more progressive items and ways of doing business. VCRs to DVD players, cassette players to CD players, heated curlers to curling irons or hair styles that don?t require curling. ATM machines are making way to debit cards and Internet banking.
Have you given thought to trends that are impacting the way you do business? It never ceases to amaze me how many home based and small business owners don?t give this much thought. Or, even if they know something is looming overhead, they pretend it doesn?t exist.
Fact is, there is one HUGE trend you cannot ignore. If you do, I can promise it is only a matter of time before you are so far behind it may be too late to catch up. It is the use of the Internet in your overall marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, many people who are running a home based or small business act like the Ostrich with their head in the sand. Hopefully, you are not one of those people.
Many people think if they pretend something doesn?t exist it will just go away. Not so with E-marketing. It is becoming more and more prevalent all the time.
I began using the Internet in my marketing years ago. I had my first Ezine before there was such a name for it. As I reflect on the growth of my business in the last few years, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that had it not been for many of the E-strategies I implemented, I wouldn?t be in business.
I also know that I cannot rest on my laurels and neither can you. It is essential to always stay on top of the information that is available. Granted, it is difficult to know what you need to learn, from whom and when enough is enough. Here are a few recommendations on what you can do.
Look at what your competitors are doing on the Internet. What does their site look like, do they have systems in place to consistently market to their customers, and do they appear to be leading the way.
Sign up for online Ezines that keep you abreast of trends. Some excellent resources are http://emailuniverse.com and http://sbinformation.about.com
Learn all you can about how to market using the Internet. Regardless of what your product or service is you need to know how to use the Internet to gain greater market share.
Fact is, very few people can avoid using the Internet in their overall marketing strategy. This doesn?t mean you have to go from A to Z in one leap. It does mean that each day you need to do something to increase your knowledge base. Perhaps you need to bring someone on board who has the knowledge that you need. Whatever you decide, make the decision based on being proactive rather than reactive.
As you think about 2005, the question you must ask is, ?Will 2005 be the Year I am Known as a Trendsetter or Someone Who Got Left Behind?? I know what my answer will be.