Business as usual? There’s no such thing anymore. Just think about the political, social and technological trends we’ve seen shake the South African business landscape over the past few years: from high-speed broadband, a shifting tax and regulatory environment to the workforce debut of young people who grew up with mobile phones and the Internet.
Many things we take for granted today are relatively new, having become mainstream in a tiny fraction of the time TV or fixed-line phones took to do so. Nine years ago, the first-generation iPhone hit the market, Netflix had only just started its move from physical DVD rentals to video streaming, and household digital brands like Uber and Instagram did not yet exist. Twenty years ago, we were still banking in branches rather than on our smartphones.
The exciting – and perhaps scary – truth is that the pace of change isn’t going to slow down. With the Internet of Things, bio-technology, 3D printing and many other technologies about to burst into the mainstream, the pace is only set to pick up - and that’s not even including the changing currents in global trade and geopolitics.
Change is the only constant and if you’re not ready, you’ll fall behind and miss opportunities for innovation. As the saying goes, fortune favours the prepared mind, and to help local business builders prepare for the future, Sage has gathered top business experts from across the world for a “Future-Proof Your Business” conference on 16 November 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Speakers include John Sanei, the noted trend specialist, business strategist, public speaker, businessman and entrepreneur; and Cal Fussman, New York Times bestselling author, writer-at-large for Esquire Magazine, keynote speaker and corporate culture consultant. Steven Cohen, Head of Sage One International (Africa, Australia, Middle East and Asia) will also be speaking alongside John and Cal, sharing his view on digital transformation and technological change.
You can register to attend the free Future-Proof your Business event here - www.sage.com/za/bizbuilding.
Here is a taste of what you can expect:
Embrace change—don’t fear it
According to Steven Cohen, many Small & Medium Business owners start out with innovative ideas, but start to become set in their ways after they enjoy initial success. However, great business builders are always looking beyond the horizon for the next wave of challenges and opportunities; they’re also always thinking about new customers, new technologies, new ways of doing things. As Winston Churchill put it: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
Ask the right questions
Too often, we’re arriving at the wrong answer because we are asking the wrong questions—the same old questions that support the status quo. Fussman’s presentation will show how changing your questions can help your company see itself with fresh eyes, help you hire and communicate better and can lead to a stronger culture.
Focus on the values and principles that will remain constant in human nature
Trend watchers are always thinking about what will change in the future, but as Sanei says in his blog, it sometimes helps to think about things that won’t change. People will always be looking for freedom, convenience and personalisation. “We don’t buy what you sell, we buy why you sell it,” says Sanei. “We crave for brands to know us better, to be able to service us exactly for when, what and how we need.” Find the brand values that will always distinguish your company; build relationships for the long-term.