Category Archives: future of business

Do Social Media Ads Work?

According to this recent poll by Ipsos OTX social media advertising is finally making headway with 35% of worldwide internet likeusers saying they made a purchase as a result of seeing an ad on social media. It isn’t as simple as it sounds though because where people were located made a difference – for instance 69% of the people polled in Brazil and 61% in Mexico made a purchase but only 13% of Canadians. Other factors that also made a difference included age, level of education and income. I think as we Canadians become more comfortable with social media for business we too will be influenced by social media advertising.

I just read the latest article on IT Business, ‘Four Tech Trends to Watch in the Next Decade’. This article is based on a report by the IT research firm Gartner Inc. Apparently every year Gartner releases a ‘hype cycle’ graphic on emerging technologies. What I found really interesting was their claim that new technologies typically go through 5 stages, which they identify and explain in the article.  We are not talking about specific products here but ideas, concepts and trends related to the technology that develops into specific products. The report suggests one disruptive idea that we should be prepared for is ‘Social TV’ and while no one is really sure how this one will play out I suspect allowing viewer interaction with the content could be really intriguing.

If I could take anything away from reading these two reports it would be the warning that the IT Business article ends with; Companies need to constantly evolve their strategies if they expect to stay relevant and successful. Good advice!

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

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Are You Social?

I have been going through the proposed webcast videos from our Digital Forum in March social-media-management1and I am reminded again that nearly 2 out of 5 Western Canadian entrepreneurs do not participate in social networks. Are you one of those entrepreneurs? According to BDC many entrepreneurs aren’t sure of the benefits and leery of the risks associated with digital technology. Perhaps they just need some guidance on how to approach it. I receive a regular email newsletter from BDC called Smart Tech. The latest newsletter is ‘7 ways to turn social media fans into customers’ and it has some pretty good tips. They also have a free eBook called ‘Social Media a Guide for Entrepreneurs’ that you can download and it looks to be fairly comprehensive. It might be time for you to consider building a social media strategy.

According to this article another industry is falling to the digital movement. Sales for point and shoot digital cameras declined by about 30% between 2006 and 2011. What are they being replaced with – smart phones of course. I talked about this in my March 6th blog post Is Digital a Threat to Your Business? In my mind this just highlights once again the importance for every business owner to take a look at what they offer to their customers and ask the question – how is digital technology going to impact this?

Have you read the book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff? I just read a preview of it. For those of you that are interested in trying to understand where your business fits in the future maybe this book can offer one more perspective to consider.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Are You Embracing Digital Technology?

This week I am going to open with the same question that I asked last week; Are you embracing Note Anytimedigital technology? Did you know there are businesses out there that are seeing significant benefits from taking advantage of the opportunities found through digital technology. This Forbes article ‘The DNA of Digital leaders’ states that “technology is reaching into every corner of the business world – every industry, company, process, decision, job – and bringing deep changes that create a new playing field with new rules and new winners and losers”. The article cites a two-year study on over 400 companies world-wide done by Capgemini Consulting released in November 2012 suggesting companies that adopt digital technology can be up to 26% more profitable! It’s interesting to note that this requires more than just investment in technology it also requires leadership. While today adopting digital technology is a competitive advantage I believe tomorrow it will determine survival.

Now here is a tool that will help you get digital. There are a few apps out there for sketching or to help take hand written notes and then convert them to digital. The article ‘The Best Digital Handwriting Tools for Businesses’ gives a few suggestions for the different apps depending on operating systems and what exactly you are going to do with them. I downloaded the free app Note Anytime and I am amazed by the quality and readability. I am looking forward to using it at my next meeting.

Don’t forget to attend our Digital Technology Learning Forum. To be held at Centre 2000 March 20, 2013. We are hosting the experts as they use digital technology to help explain social media, SEO, social commerce, mobile applications, databases, and 3D printers. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

Is Digital a Threat to Your Business?

threatAre you embracing digital? Or is digital a threat to your livelihood? I’m not much of a music buff so it didn’t occur to me how much the digital age was destroying the record industry. From digital advances with the creation of CD’s causing an explosion in sales, to a few years later and what looked like a terminal illness from an inability to adapt to a new business model embracing the digital age. Well perhaps the music industry has it figured out now based on this article in the New York Times but I suspect there is still need for some ongoing innovation. What I take away from this is that at the pace things are moving today we better be looking at our current business model and exploring how digital is affecting our business. Being innovative with digital technology might be a tool for survival.

Did you know that there are some pretty good apps out there that capture your handwriting digitally? This article recommends at least five that vary in price from $5 to free. So now there is no excuse not to get on board this digital train!

Do you offer Wi-Fi to your customers? I see signs in our local coffee shops offering this service for free and I know while I am there I appreciate it. But I didn’t realize that offering this service could be a competitive advantage. I came across this article in which an independent grocery store in Ontario is positioning themselves to be a community hub rather than just a place to get groceries. Just one more way that digital technology could make your business more profitable or productive.

Don’t forget to attend our Digital Technology Learning Forum. To be held at Centre 2000 March 20, 2013. We are hosting the experts as they use digital technology to help explain social media, SEO, social commerce, mobile applications, databases, and 3D printers. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

How Much Time do You Spend Online?

Canada onlineIs anyone out there that is looking for more statistics to convince people this digital age is here to stay, grow and prosper? I love statistics as you may have noticed. I just came across the CCRA’s (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) 2013 Fact Book. This little gem contains some interesting information like – there are now over 240 billion domains online and the .ca is one of the fastest growing domains worldwide. Did you know Canadians spend an average of 45 hours per month online? That is almost double the global average. Also interesting to note we are at the back of the pack when it comes to broadband speed and price even though in 2010 the internet economy was at 3.4% of GDP.

Well the holiday season is over and according to itBusiness.ca and the MasterCard SpendingPulse Report Canadians spent $2.8 Billion online in December 2012. That’s an increase of 26% over December 2011. What I find interesting is that more and more Canadians are moving from researching online and then buying in stores to outright shopping online. One more reason businesses need to explore the idea of e-commerce.

Finally today I would like to leave you with this article on Social and Digital Tech Trends. Just more ammunition for those of us trying to convince others that as Courtney Sheldon Hunt puts it ‘the Digital Era is not coming, and it’s not just getting started. It’s HERE’.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive and how to use digital technology to do that please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

How much is Digital Technology changing the way we live?

After reading an interesting blog post by Futurist Thomas Frey I am totally astounded by the fact that the future is NOW! Think about this… Back in 2010 the sale of mobile devices officially exceeded the sale of desktop personal computers and sometime in 2013 the number of mobile devices in use will exceed the total number of desktop smart-phone-contentspersonal computers. So what does that mean exactly? Well now rather than having closets full of CDs, and Movie DVD’s we can have our entire entertainment library hosted in the cloud and retrieve it whenever we want from our mobile device. We can’t get lost anymore as the GPS on our phone not only knows where we are but it can tell us how to get where we want to go. It won’t be very long before we won’t need our wallet as smart phones are able to transfer cash to cover our purchases. In fact the day is fast approaching where we can walk out the door with only our clothes and our smart phone and have everything we need to be functional all day.

3D printers or rapid prototyping machines as they are also known as are quickly becoming affordable. A search on the internet reveals this home model for less than $1300! My first home computer cost quite a bit more than that. Our local college has purchased a 3D printer and made it available to industry in our region so I am familiar with the possibilities. Just imagine instead of spending countless hours searching the planet for something we want (which is amazing all in itself) soon we will be able to create whatever we want almost as fast as we can dream it up. You can’t get much more productive than that.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

 

Productivity Apps and Other Tools

In an effort to keep track of the latest in digital technology for businesses I regularly receive newsletters and download free e-books. HubSpot is a type of marketing software and while I don’t use the software I really appreciate the resources they send. Past e-books have included ‘How to use Twitter for Business’ and the most recent is an e-book on 20 Marketing Trend and Predictions for 2013.

apple-iphone-apps-32Another great site for resources is Melinda Emerson’s Small Biz Lady site. I came across her blog on the 10 Best Productivity Apps for Small Business Owners. It is a good article and while at the moment I only use DropBox and Evernote I have every intention of checking out a few more of these.

After reading that blog post I explored Melinda Emerson’s Small Biz Lady site and I found several tidbits worth sharing. From posts on Google+ (another one of those social media connectors) to the New Rules of Small Business Marketing, and even a post discussing a Mobile App for your business.

The small business landscape is changing at such an exponential rate it is hard to keep up and you really have to be purposeful in order to be productive. Perhaps some of these articles will help.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/ or check out our new website at http://www.connectingindustry.ca/

The Future of Business

When it comes to this time of the year many of us like to look back and reflect. Instead I want to look forward at what I see as the future of business.  According to Matt Ridley in his book the ‘Rational Optimist’ big companies have less and less of a future, a trend that I already see happening. Ridley states the size of an average American company is down from 25 employees twenty-five years ago to 10 employees today. Somehow I don’t think this is just because of the cut backs due to recession.

Similar things are happening in Canada. According to the Government of Alberta 2011 Small Business Profile 96% of the businesses in Alberta are small and of those 93% have 19 or fewer employees (63% have 1 to 4 employees). Across all sectors in Alberta at least 88% of businesses are small. The report goes on to suggest that the only growth that was generated by businesses in Alberta from 2005 to 2010 was by that 93% that employed 19 or fewer people.

Ridley suggests “Tomorrow’s largely self-employed workers, clock on to work online in bursts for different clients when and where it suits them”.  He isn’t the only one that is suggesting that. Daniel Pink has gone one step further and written a book called Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself.  Chris Lauer, from Business Week, in his review of the book states; ‘Free Agent Nation captures the shift in economic and social power from the organization to the individual.’

In small business reputation and integrity are crucial to survival. If the current state of the world economy is in part due to fraud and corruption does it not make sense that all of us are looking for a refreshing change from ‘big business as usual’?

The important of specialization (see blog: Productivity through Specialization) combined with the ability to work from anywhere thanks to the internet allow businesses everywhere to be very productive, adaptable and flexible, especially small business. I am very much looking forward to business in the future and feel blessed that I can participate on the leading edge of this new economy today.

Productivity is a measure of how much – work, time, effort, money, or energy – you have to put into something to get the desired outcome. For more tips and tools on how to get more productive please visit Blue Collar Consulting Inc. at http://www.bluecollarconsulting.ca/