When I started TechThrive now more than a year ago I knew the odds were against me. The statistics for a start-up business isn’t great. The first year will see almost 90% close down and as time goes by 90% of the remaining will be closed within the next 10 years. That’s only a small percentage that survives until the 10th year.

If I want to stack the odds in my favour, what is the best advice for me to take? The common advice is often the basics with finance, accounting, marketing, business experience, poor management, poor business model etc…

Then there is the other less common advice to innovate, disrupt the market and the old saying “build a better mousetrap” etc…  Now, this got me thinking… what about businesses older than 10 years? Why do they close down and what can they do to stack the odds in their favour.

Logically, if a business has survived their first 10 years they have the basics down to a fine art. More so I’d say they have the resources to have multiple people capable of fulfilling those roles which greatly improves’ business efficiency. So if it’s not the basics that they’re doing wrong it must be something else.

What about the less common advice? Innovate and disrupt! If a start-up innovates and disrupts and is successful surely this will leave ripples that will adversely affect those businesses already in the market.

As a techie, I visited Google to see what I could find. Interestingly, but unsurprisingly I could find hundreds of articles describing what start-ups should do but I found very little on existing businesses. It was as if the world just expected the existing businesses to keep going because, well, they had kept going in the past. Perhaps it wasn’t in the nature of existing businesses to worry about disruptions because they’re taught to stick to what they’re good at – stick to your knitting vs innovate & disrupt.

There is a great deal of practical evidence in the world that a lack of innovation or perhaps a better way to describe it is a lack of ability to change is a leading cause for existing businesses folding. Despite the lack of advice for existing business, I did find a whole stack of articles describing what went wrong using the benefit of hindsight! In each instance, a deep analysis is done and the conclusion is that something disrupted their market which caused chaos for the business.

Let me share some very common examples; A photographic company that missed the digital camera trend, a cell phone company that missed the smartphone trend and in a current real-world scenario retailers missing the online trend.

If we think this through a little deeper, in every case presented above those companies were not only aware of the threat but had already tried some form of action before eventually closing down. It was once again their failure to change their business to allow the innovation to cause market disruption.

We know at this point innovation and disruption is a risk to existing businesses. So what! Once the internet was invented it took just 10 years to circulate the globe, in contrast, the spindle invented over 200 years ago took half a century to circulate the globe. A textiles business back then had plenty of time to adjust to changing conditions whereas modern technology allows for very little leeway. It was this thought that started my thinking on what businesses can do to survive in a technology fuelled environment.

Here is the problem! I think it is as much common knowledge to existing businesses that they need to innovate & disrupt as it is to a start-up that they need to do their finances’ right. However, in so many instances those existing businesses stick their heads in the sand and wait until their once thriving, vibrant business is taken over by a new technology-enabled business. In an almost paralyzed state, they go back to the basics when they know full well that they need to compete technologically. It is catastrophically difficult to make a decision to change the way business has been done successfully in favour of something new.

The success of a business like TechThrive that operates in the IoT space which is part of the 4th industrial revolution has the potential to innovate and disrupt to a degree never seen before. The Internet of things is only one. Artificial Intelligence, fuelled by Moores law, which has the potential to double every 2 or so years. Notwithstanding; 3D printing, smart sensors, big data, augmented reality.

Now what! 2019.. 2020.. ready or not here I come! We know for certain that technology is changing the way business is done. The sooner that technology is understood and implemented the better for your business. Contact TechThrive on 010 007 1717 or info@techthrive.co.za to have a chat or arrange a meeting to discuss where technology could be a threat for your business and more importantly how to change to allow technological innovations to drive your business into the future. Our experts are ready to bring your business into the 4th industrial revolution.