Our world is transforming at a dizzying pace, and in more ways than we can even grasp. From technology, to climate change, cultural and social norms, and economically speaking, we are all just trying to hang on in this roller coaster ride that is gaining speed by the nanosecond.
In his recent book entitled, “Thank You for Being Late,” NY Times columnist Dr. Thomas Friedman examines these changes and explains them to his bewildered readers as only an experienced, self-described “exploratory journalist” can.
We’ve all heard about things such as self-serve fast food kiosks (replacing human workers), self-driving cars, and robot “personal assistants” that are either being implemented now or are right around the corner. Friedman’s book goes way beyond such trends, and in fact gives us reason to hope… because the one thing that will never change? The need for human connection.
Ever the optimist, Friedman takes on the task of not only prefacing the pace in which our world is changing, but starts by laying a foundation of how the stage was set for it all to occur. He frames these changes in a way that should resonate with all passionate entrepreneurs: seizing upheaval for the opportunities it yields, and not allowing oneself to be stuck in the past.
Much like business owners of yesteryear, who faced a rapidly changing landscape of technological marvels and innovation, we have the same chance to benefit from them. When America outgrew her mostly agricultural heritage and embraced the industrial revolution, entrepreneurs didn’t wait to start building what would become the United States of the future… and beyond.
Indeed, the illusion of static circumstances is just that – an illusion. As business owners, we have to constantly measure our endeavors as profitable or not, and adjust our practices accordingly. This is why an “adaptability mindset” is more important than just about any other factor – including marketing strategy, product or service viability, and even capital.
With several years now under our belts as entrepreneurs, my wife and I have grown from a kitchen-table enterprise to now owning our brand-new office building in a hip neighborhood of downtown Nashville. Starting with just ourselves, we grew to having a couple of employees, and now have team members numbering over 70. From our own humble beginnings and with each step forward, we have noticed trends and markets that seemed under-served, and as such, shaped our marketing to speak to those needs. As we got better and better with our strategies, our demographic responded positively and our business grew. I share this not to brag, but to illustrate my main point: you can only augment your enterprise if you are willing to observe the changes happening around you, and take advantage of those changes to serve your market.
Friedman has many great points in his book, but gets two very important things right: change is inevitable, and those who can ride the wave of change, resisting the urge to swim against the current, will stand to gain the most from it.
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.