Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw once said that “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. It’s a tired rote nowadays – we get it. Change is happening all around us and we need to change with the times.

The post-covid world that we are experiencing is just one example of the change that is taking place around us, and where the ‘new normal’ we keep hearing about is really being bed in. Last week, instead of boarding a plane to our international advisory network conference, we virtually attended via Zoom in our board room here in Whangarei. Just like it would have been BC (Before Covid), we got to listen to some amazing speakers sharing their viewpoint on the future that is ahead of us.

Simon Kuestenmacher, the Co-Founder of The Demographics Group shared fascinating insights, including his projections of population growth by age group in Australia and New Zealand over the next 10 years.

One of these insights that resonated was an example he shared about ‘The McDonalds Effect.’ The example goes like this…imagine a regional post office in a town where, to date, there have been no fast-food outlets. One day, a bright and shiny ‘Fast Food Outlet’ rolls into town. A month goes by and the post office start to get complaints about their wait times! They’ve never had complaints before and there has been no change to their wait times. The post office staff are left scratching their heads and don’t understand what is going on.

What the post office failed to recognise is the changes happening in the consumer expectations around them. While the shiny ‘Fast Food Outlet’ does not operate in the same industry or as a competitor to the post office, it set a new standard for service delivery.

The reason the above example resonated so strongly with me is that business owners are often aware of what moves their competitors may be making. It can be just as vital in today’s global environment to be aware of the disrupters outside of your industry. What is driving change in consumer expectations that you perhaps hadn’t considered?

You could be a tradie, but have you given thought to the fast-moving world of app development? Possibly not, and understandably so. But with consumers now expecting up to the minute updates and information at their fingertips, it’s worth the time investigating how to give your customers a more immersive building experience. One residential building company we came across now offers an app for their clients that includes project updates, on site photos, running updates on the build budget and a messaging function direct to the project manager.

It might feel daunting, but this is the world we now live in. Embrace that change – identify it as an opportunity for you to leap ahead, be a leader and a disrupter in your industry.

If in doubt, remember the words of George Bernard Shaw…and then give us a call!

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