Shift #1: We’re moving from an Information Age to a Conceptual (or Creative) Age
Since the late 1980’s we’ve been living in what’s known as the Information Age, or the Computer Age. With computers and the Internet we can instantly access all the information we could ever want. We’ve experienced the birth of “info-preneurs” or those who make their living selling information. We’re over-flowing with free ezines and ebooks and other information products. It’s gotten to the point that we have more information than we can possibly process and use.
As is always the case with “too much of a good thing,” something has to shift.
So what’s shifting is that we are moving into what is being called the Conceptual Age – I like to think of it as the Creative Age.
In his book A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink explains how the economy is now moving from the information age to the conceptual age.
And he cites 3 indicators:
1. Abundance (over-supply)
2. Asia (outsourcing)
We are now living in the most Abundant age ever (yes, even in the midst of this recession, we are still all better off than our ancestors) – you can buy designer products for pennies on the dollar at stores like Target, every neighborhood has a Best Buy or WalMart, most every home has a flat screen TV, our children now carry cell phones and play with expensive video gaming systems.
In this age of outsourcing, more and more computer programming and other “knowledge” or task-oriented jobs are being outsourced to Asia and other countries. Through services like Elance.com we can find people overseas to build our websites for a fraction of the cost we would pay a US company.
Many left-brained tasks are now being handled by computers. We have self check out in the grocery stores and the majority of us book our travel online instead of using a travel agent – and those are just two examples.
So what does this mean for you, the home-based business owner?
It means if you offer a service that is “knowledge based” or that can be automated, your business is in trouble if you don’t find a way to add value for your clients. You need to find a way to be innovative and creative so you offer more than just routine tasks, if you don’t want to lose business to cheaper, outsourced or automated options.
Virtual assistants, computer programs, website developers are all seeing their work disappear to cheaper sources through services such as Elance.com.
It’s time to increase your level of service and start adding “high touch” elements to your business.
I was at a conference last month and was speaking with a gentleman who runs a coaching firm with his wife. And he said that they have a process in their business where they personally call every single person who buys from them – even if they just purchase an information product.
GoDaddy is another great example. If you register a domain name (a $10 sale), you get a customer service phone call. That’s high touch. Even though they could rely on the entire process to be computerized, they don’t – they’ve added value by adding a personal touch.
This shift in our world definitely requires a shift in how you think about your business, what you offer to your clients, and how you service them. You must shift to a place where you are selling VALUE, not hours. Hours can always be purchased cheaper somewhere else.
You must find a way to do what you do better, or differently. You must be creative. Know your market. Anticipate their needs. Be innovative. That’s what successful home-based business owners do.
I know that being creative and innovative doesn’t come easily for everyone. Especially when you get so caught up working IN your business – doing the day-to-day tasks that are required. That’s one place being a part of a mastermind group can really help because then you have an entire team of people who are working on your business with you. And they’re not caught up in the day-to-day, so they very often bring you creative, out-of-the-box ideas that you would never come up with on your own.
They can also help you see the value you really offer to your clients and help you express that through your marketing and sales efforts in a much more effective way than you may be doing on your own. Ever heard the adage, “Can’t see the forest for the trees?” It’s very often the case with home-based business owners and solo-professionals. They are simply too close to their business to market and sell their products and services effectively. Tapping into an outside, objective perspective can make a world of difference in the success of your business. Especially as we begin to navigate this whole new world!