Do we really own the destiny of a business?
A conversation i had with a client yesterday led me to uncover a hidden thought and memory which most of us who own or run a business carry with us daily. The idea that a 20 year old business such as theirs can only now sustainably carry on it's success if they adere to and follow the strict rules of the Google algorithms. Do we really own the destiny of our own business anymore?
My client said something along the lines of "It really upsets me that this is what we've come to rely on to stay in business". And they are certainly not alone, whilst a bricks and mortar high street business is somewhat exempt from this rule it suffers from the ever growing trend of 'getting things cheaper at all costs' vibes we have in todays society.
Sadly retail business on the high st chose to give it a go online and not realising they were setting themselves up on a quick slippery slope to failure. Online consumers buy sale items, online consumers buy reduced items and they can also use certain websites to look at an overview of which website is offering the product cheaper. An unregulated private company basically rules the world of business. Whilst there are other businesses offering web search they don't come nearly as close as they should for google to get worried, however on one hand this is probably a good thing. Better the devil you know than a few you don't.
I guess the point here is business owners have to thrive in a culture that was not necessarily their vision for their business when they first began, competing online at the lowest possible price at all times.
For a shift in culture the consumers really have to have a natural shift in thinking, and businesses have to start treating customers with the highest level of respect (That includes you Gen-Y) it will take some time to come back around, when somebody in 2040 says "Wow this business really cares about me, packaging, customer service and I feel wanted - worth paying the extra pennies". Kind of like those good old days when nobody had a MAC, and you whipped out your shiny Macbook Pro in a busy restaurant or Cafe. Everybody knows you paid a small fortune for something but in return what you got back compared to the average PC users 'get up' was un deniable.
Will a shift in consumer culture and customer service see the high streets busy again? And less about Google (or other search) controlling your business destiny? People may become addicted to good quality products and service again but in a fast moving world do we have time to stop an notice good quality?
But what about online small businesses? I think the key is here that you need to create online businesses that carry a niche product. Something that can't be reproduced quickly and cheaper, this way you can create a buzz about your product and organically drive sales rather than google algorithms or Pay Per Click methods.
Of course if your business vision was to get products to the mass consumer market at the cheapest price then you probably are happy to be dominated by Google and if you play by the rules you can stay in their club and essentially stay in a great business.
Let's be honest, this very blog was most likely served up to you by Google, sadly, google will only let it reach a certain number of users based on the quality of our markup, the content and they have determined who may be interested to read it. Which you may be thinking, what's wrong with that?
Well, does somebody still assist you when tying your shoelace's? Probably not, you have learnt to do things and make decisions for yourself however, not anymore, a massive part of your reality is decided by google and social media before serving it up to you... Just imagine for a moment what you have missed out on?
I'm going to ponder my post for a while (then will resume back to being controlled)