Is Software Eating Away at Your Industry?

New business startups are disrupting their relative industries and eating the world with software.

The phrase “software is eating the world” was coined by Marc Andreessen in a 2011 essay. When software can replace the value in an industry, change will ensue.

Let’s look at two examples of recent startup companies of where this expressions rings true…

Uber is disrupting the taxis business around the world

Airbnb is disrupting the hotel business around the world

The interesting thing is Uber has not purchased a single taxi cab, and Airbnb hasn’t invested a dime in constructing any large, expensive hotels. They are disrupting their relative industries and eating the world with software.

What can a small business owner do?

First, be aware of any “legacy” systems that are holding your company back.

As example, when I had $20,000 invested in my office server, it was hard for me to even consider replacing it with a “Google Drive” account for $4 per month per user ($40/month).  If a business has a significant investment tied up in existing software or hardware, it is hard to just throw it away. Economists call it a “sunk cost”. The money is sunk and gone and in my example, it shouldn’t affect the rational thinking about moving to “cloud – based” software.

Related article – Implementing a Change in Your Business 

The best way to get past this mental block is to ask yourself the following question:

If I was starting my business from scratch today, what hardware and software options are available to me to run my business most effectively?

If it makes sense to use it starting from scratch, it probably makes sense to ditch your legacy systems and explore the new tools.

Second, if you haven’t embraced the remote workspace concepts or even outsourced, cloud-based service providers these are now worth a second look.

As example, LegalZoom is trying to disrupt your local law firm.  In additional to being more efficient and less expensive that most traditional lawyers, LegalZoom also utilizes a “no surprise pricing” model. No hourly billing and therefore no surprise whopper bill from the lawyer!  Wouldn’t it be great if the success of this model required the traditional law firms to change from their legacy model of “think about your clients in the shower, send them a surprise bill for doing it and expect to get paid!”?

There has been an explosion of software tools that facilitate remote and web-based communication. It amazes me that I can have a team meeting by video on my phone in the USA with two team members in Brazil, one in Canada and cost is virtually zero. Do we really even need physical office space?

The third suggestion is the easiest to implement: Find out what software you already have that you aren’t currently using to its full potential or even at all. Most of us have a love-hate relationship with computer software.  As a result of the “hate” part of the relationship, it is easier to just keep our inefficient habits instead of dealing with the sometimes frustrating learning curve of some user unfriendly software.

Another simple approach is to ask each team member to share one or two productivity improvement tips they use. There is a good chance not everybody knows or uses all of them. When helping small business owners I notice it’s usually the CEO who struggles with the software but is fortunate enough to have smart, software savvy team members to help them out when they get stuck!

Good luck exploring your existing software and please let us know if you find a tip or trick that is worth sharing. Just video conference me on your phone and we can discuss it in more detail!

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