On Becoming Extinct

00011387phoneWatching trends is critical to remaining relevant in business. I received an email this morning detailing 25 things that are going the way of the drive-in movie theater. It listed a few things that made me nostalgic, like the closing of local swimming holes due to lawsuits and the decline of family farming in favor of agribusiness.

Many items on the watch list relate to media and communications and make me think of the revolutionary changes in the years since I left college, where my first news writing course was in a classroom with manual typewriters and I learned graphic design with a T-square and X-acto knife. Here are a few items on the endangered list:

– Yellow Pages directory. Think online alternatives to this hefty waste of paper.
– Newspaper classified ads. Think Craig’s list and FREE.
– News magazines and TV news. Think immediacy of internet news.
– Movie rental stores. Think Netflix.
-Telephone land lines. Think cell phones and Skype.
-Film cameras. Digital is here to stay.
-Hand-written letters. Think 210 billion emails/day.

What if I had stayed in the newspaper business my whole career? What if I relied on yellow pages advertising and nothing else to grow my design business? The trends listed above are fairly obvious today. But what trends are just appearing on the horizon that could change the way you do business next month or next year?

-Can your work be easily offshored or replaced by a cheaper alternative? A friend just returned from Malaysia where he trained people to do his former co-worker’s jobs at a fraction of the cost. But nurses are still in demand.
– Is your service easier to find and cheaper on the internet?  I can buy a quality stock photo for $10 that I would have paid $250 to a traditional stock agency for a few years ago and $500 to have shot by a photographer 20 years ago. Custom portrait work cannot be offshored.

What changes to your service line can you make now to help ensure your long term success? What shifts in your marketing approach are needed to address the changing media landscape? What training are you lacking to stay abreast of change?


Creating the Vision of Your Success

When I was part of a change team for a company that was reinventing its structure to better serve customers, the lead consultant asked the senior executives to write an imaginary Wall Street Journal article about the company’s success – five years from the completion of the change initiative. The exercise focused the team on the positive outcomes they were striving for and challenged them to think about what additional changes would need to happen to get them to realize the successes in their success article. After this exercise they had a clearer vision of the future desired state, which helped to focus their actions and get them to see past the pain of change.

How often do you think about what you want your future to look like? When you have reached a point of complete satisfaction with your business/career, who are your clients? What does your office look like? What are your annual billings? How much time off do you take? Where will you go on vacation? What kind of house are you living in? What kind of car do you drive? What do your relationships look like? Consider creating a visual reminder of your aspirations so you stay fully present on where you are going and the steps it will take you to get there.

The mind is a powerful tool when it comes to achieving success. Envisioning your success may sound a lot like daydreaming, but when we are driving somewhere we have never been, we typically take along a roadmap. (If only the roadmap to our life success were as easy as plugging the destination into googlemaps and clicking go!) Success in business and having a great life takes planning and hard work. The big question is, what do you need to do to get yourself to that future desired state?

Take Action Challenge: Be on the lookout for pictures and words that speak to you about your success and put together a “vision map” that you can place somewhere as a constant reminder of where you want to go. You can create an online version (that you can also save as your computer screensaver) using the Ultimate Vision Board application at facebook.com. Share with the community by using the comment button if you have done a visioning exercise or used a vision board to inspire your success.

© 2008 Jocelyn Canfield, ABC