There used to be a display at the New York City Worlds Fair called Futurama. It was a very cool display of what the world would look like years and year down the road. It presented details such as future homes, cars, cities, transportation systems, etc., and did a pretty good job. The video, below, covers the 1939-1940 display of what 1960 would look like.
The folks at GM were thinking about what the future will look like. Ever consider why? Ever consider why Disney spent so much time and money creating “The World of Tomorrow” display?
One major reason was to create hope. They were trying to give Americans and the rest of the world something exciting to look forward to.
Inspiration. By creating this vision of the future, they helped to encourage inventors and engineers to create what might be.
Marketing. They wanted people to know that they were thinking about the future, and their place in it.
Just like them, in your small business, you need to be thinking about the future, and how your business will fit into it. Consider, for a moment, if you are a marketing firm that has been at the top of your market for years, doing what you do. If you don’t adapt to new technologies, you won’t remain viable in the marketplace. Your market share will dwindle.
On the other side of the coin, though, if you help to create the future – you impact future thinking, you will increase your market share. Quick example. Intel. Nobody thought there would be any use for a Microprocessor. Ever. Enough said.
A company that didn’t predict the future – International Business Machines. They never believed that the personal computer would be viable.
Where is your industry going? How does the economy effect your business? What opportunities will you be able to take advantage of once the recession is over? What emerging technologies/fads/methods will impact your business? Can you become a virtual company? Could you/should you be competing on a global level?
Your business needs to invest in itself to answer those questions, for the very same reasons Disney and GM did. Hope. Inspiration and Marketing. Own the future.