Did you get the memo? Business, and marketing, are in the process of changing fundamentally. How prepared are you as a business to survive the next 10 years?

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Accept it or not, business is undergoing a grass roots revolution, proportionate in size to the impact of industrialization. In that time, many unprepared businesses went bust, unprepared for the realities of the day. A number however, able to navigate the changing landscape, were able to grow and flourish. This current day WORD-OF MOUTH revolution poses a tremendous risk to all those companies that resist change, and still want to rest on their laurels and the tried and true tactics that have carried them for years!

Is your business prepared for the new business world? Your business' weaknesses WILL BE exposed for all to see, no matter what steps you take to hide them. Word of mouth will rule the day, enabled by new technologies. Can you adapt? Will you adapt? Take this quick 2019 Business Solvency Quiz to find out how well prepared your company actually is.

business-solvency-quiz

Answer these 5 questions as honestly as possible to assess your risk. Note your answers to each question.

    1. does your firm's upper management view clients as partners (as opposed to adversaries)?

    2. does your firm's upper management view problems as opportunities?

    3. does your firm you have someone in the company who is tasked with understanding the impact of the internet on your business, with the power and will to adapt the company strategy, and who is supported by a reasonable budget?

    4. Does your firm's upper management view quality employees as partners (as opposed to adversaries)?

    5. If you were a potential client, would you honestly purchase your firm's products or services, versus those of one of your best competitors?

2019-business-solvency-quiz-answers1

Below, please find detailed explanations to each question.

    1. does your firm's upper management view clients as partners (as opposed to adversaries)?

    If no, the business' chances of survival beyond 2019 are very limited.

    The reason is quite simply that companies that view clients as adversaries, become super exposed to reputation management issues going forward. While maybe not catastrophic at this time, it will be in the next 10 years. In 10 years time, infinite budgets and mass media will no longer be able to brainwash the general public into believing certain messages. Rather, Joe Q Public will be (and to a certain extent already is) much more powerful and "armed" than ever before. Via personal blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media, their messages (both positive and negative) about your products will permeate every nook and cranny of the internet. Search for your business name … voila. Search for your supplier's names … voila. The tone of those messages is entirely up to you … will they be positive or negative? Depends entirely on if you view clients as allies or adversaries.

    Case in point:
    United Breaks Guitars – In response to a "damage" claim by a talented though little known musician, United stuck by their old tried and true tactics, and denied responsibility hoping the problem would go away. The result; a frustrated musician struck a chord with millions on YouTube (over 5 million view and counting). Ouch United!

    2. does your firm's upper management view problems as opportunities?

    If no, again your firm's chances of success beyond 2019 are very limited.

    The reason; problems will occur. Its an inevitability. However, clients aren't lost when problems occur (most realize that issues happen), but rather when they don't get the response or respect they were expecting in response to problems. That's when the real opportunity is missed.

    The opportunity is this; if you resolve the issue in real time, all the while managing the client's expectations, the client now knows how relatively painless worst case scenario was. The client also comes to realize that the company will do everything in its power to resolve the issue immediately! Before switching to another vendor next time, the client assesses the risks of using a competitive company, who's response to worst case scenario is an unknown risk. The choice is often clear … people tend to like to avoid unnecessary risk. They've become more loyal than they would have been had the problem never occurred!

    3. does your firm you have someone in the company who is tasked with understanding the impact of the internet on your business, with the power and will to adapt the company strategy, and who is supported by a reasonable budget?

    If no, reduce your chances of remaining solvent past 2019 dramatically.

    The reason; the internet will continue to evolve in ways we cannot forsee. Even with the internet as it currently exists, time and effort needs to be dedicated to it. Stories will be told about your business online, whether you're listening or not. The difference between those told online versus offline is that those told online have a much better chance of gaining momentum and ultimately reaching critical mass. They also pose more opportunity since they give you an opportunity to respond and rectify, versus those told in private offline that you never hear about. Burying your head in the proverbial sand and hoping negative stories will go away, isn't a realistic strategy.

    burying-head-in-sand

    Companies that instead charge someone TRUSTED internally with monitoring what is being said about the company online, and in responding and resolving such issues, have a much greater probability of avoiding major issues. There is also a great deal of customer insight in these online conversations … perhaps greater than market research could ever reveal.

    While perhaps not absolutely critical in 2009, in 2019 we'll likely search every company/product name from our PDA prior to purchasing, much like we currently do for ALL job candidates.

    In reality, having a person dedicated to understanding and facilitating a company's presence online, is the best indication of a company's commitment to succeeding going forward.


    4. Does your firm's upper management view quality employees as partners (as opposed to adversaries)?

    If no, once again the business' odds of remaining solvent past 2019 are in question.

    The reason; as baby boomers age and retire, there are fewer in the work force to draw from. Add to this the fact that technology is advancing at an ever increasing rate, and colleges and universities cannot keep pace, which means fewer "qualified" individuals. In the end it means much more competition for the few really talented and committed individuals needed by a firm. In fact, over the next 5 years, 27% expect lack of qualified talent to be their biggest HR issue (Standout Jobs 2009 Recruiting Trends Survey Point 4).

    The best mechanism for finding and securing these individuals … through their friends. At an ever increasing pace, this is occurring on Linkedin, Facebook, and via other social networks (see Standout Jobs 2009 Recruiting Trends Survey Point 6). Once again, negative stories from existing employees will repel top quality talent. Positive stories will attract them. Companies are only as good as their people. The choice is once again left to the company.

    5. If you were a potential client, would you honestly purchase your firm's products or services, versus those of one of your best competitors?

    If no, be prepared for much more difficult times ahead.

    The reason; whatever your firms weaknesses are, they will be told online by many in the coming years. The vast majority of your clients will be exposed to this information. At the same time, your competitors weaknesses will also become well known. Those companies with the best odds of survival are those that prioritize and resolve their own weaknesses relatively quicker than their competitors. Someone who would purchase products from their own company believes that their product/service offering is already superior even given their relative weaknesses … a necessary starting point.

Interpreting the results:

If you answered 'YES':

0 Times – you're either a monopoly, or are one of the luckiest people on the planet. If you're not a monopoly, you're luck is about to change for the worse. Consider re-sensitizing the entire upper management team. This firm has a very low probability of remaining solvent past 2019, even with massive budgets and funding.

Once only – Yikes, you've got some choices to make. Do you have the will and ability to change the direction and philosophy of your firm? If not, it may be time to recruit someone who can, or abandon ship in favour of a more seaworthy vessel. This one is sinking fast!

Twice – Warning, warning. While some of the philosophy is sound, much still needs work. Without significant change, its unlikely the firm will survive past 2019.

Three Times – Good! There is much to work with, though still some serious issues. This word-of-mouth revolution is not a fad, or something that can be ignored. Without further change, the business will has a good chance of becoming insolvent by 2019.

Four Times – Very good! Your firm stands a good chance of being around past 2019, or at the very least upper management's philosophy won't be a major detriment to the company.

Five Times – CONGRATULATIONS! Your firm's philosophical approach to business and marketing is well suited to the changing business and marketing landscape. Your firm's odds of surviving past 2019 are excellent!

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