Are You Shaking Up Your Industry? You Don’t Need to Be Big to Make a Difference
The other day I was scrolling through Facebook, checking out all the cool (and ridiculous) stuff that comes up on my news feed.
I was immediately drawn to a photograph posted by an old friend of mine. He and his wife were on holiday in Asia, and the photo was of them riding an elephant through a tropical jungle. As soon as I saw it, I knew his post would attract some interesting comments from his Facebook community. I knew this because quite frankly, that kind of tourism is simply not the ‘done’ thing anymore.
The post definitely did attract some fairly critical commentary. And yet, five years ago and certainly ten years ago, few people thought anything of it. People were having their picture taken with chained, sedated tigers and riding all sorts of wild animals around on their holidays.
It seems that in a pretty short space of time (a few years), there has been a worldwide shift in this type of tourism. Most likely due to charities and activists shining a light on the welfare of animals in this area and the reach social media has to draw attention to big, sensitive issues.
As people are learning more about the plight of animals in these kinds of tourism businesses, they are turning away from them and encouraging their friends to do the same. It got me thinking about how quickly something can go from being absolutely acceptable in society, to absolutely unacceptable, in a fairly short amount of time. It’s the idea of change and how fast it can occur.
We’ve all heard people telling stories of businesses that achieved ‘overnight success’ and how those business owners fluked it lucky to become rich and famous in the time it takes to click their fingers.
My understanding is that there is rarely a business which is an overnight success and most businesses that experience strong growth and significant market share success have had people at the helm who have worked extremely hard to take those businesses to those levels. So, the change in people riding elephants as part of everyday tourism certainly didn’t change overnight, but broadly speaking, it was fairly rapid.
So, can we, as Small Business owners, ever truly make an impact in our industries?
The answer is, “Absolutely, no question about it, yes.”And as we’ve all heard many times in our lives, ‘you don’t need to be big to make a big difference’. Just try sleeping in a room with a mosquito to understand how much impact something small can have.
What then, are the key elements required to make a change and for that change to flow on to others, beyond our own efforts?
- Focus on something that people are passionate about. Perhaps even something controversial.
- Look for problems or gaps in your market sector. Richard Branson always looks at big corporates and tries to figure out ways to shake them up. How does this apply to your industry?
- Can you turn something ordinary into something special? Max Brenner turned chocolate from a product, into an experience.
- Start by getting the support of people and groups you ‘know’are likely to back your idea.
- Listen carefully and respond to buyers in your industry. Only then will you find out where the real gaps lie.
Needless to say, I don’t think my friend will ever ride an elephant on his holiday again, and if he did, he certainly wouldn’t be posting a picture of it on his Facebook page. Watch your market closely and don’t underestimate the speed at which consumer interests can change.
What can you do today to make a change in your business and industry?
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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