These are the 10 most critical things to know about how business is changing in the year ahead.
Each trend explains what the big shift is, what it means to you, and what to do to keep your business on the cutting edge. If you find these of value, please share!
Trend #1: THE 3 LANE ECONOMY
As speed grows and time shortens, we have moved from a 1 lane to 2 lane to now 3 lane economy. Which means what people are willing to pay (and what you are able to earn) continues to shift dramatically.
Ignoring this shift will mean getting left far behind, stuck in a jam, or crashing into a ten car pile-up!
20 years ago, we had a 1 lane economy – All you needed to do was to get in front of a customer, and earn their money. Provided they were willing to pay money, you were in business. These were the days where sales skills were all it took to get started, and you could take people’s time and attention for granted.
10 years ago, we grew to a 2 lane economy – You could still grab people’s time with an ad or phone call, but you could no longer take people’s attention for granted. You needed to earn their attention before you could earn their money.
This was the basis of Advertising’s AIDA formula (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). Those who paid for media, got people’s attention, they moved from the fast lane to the slow lane, and having earned their attention you could now earn their money.
Today, we have grown to a 3 lane economy – Attention can no longer be bought, because no one is spending time watching ads. So time too now needs to be earned. If people haven’t first paid you attention, they won’t pay you time. If they aren’t paying you time, they won’t pay you money.
That means success today doesn’t start with a funnel, but with a following.
Your following = Those paying you attention (but not yet time or money)
Your community = Those paying you time (but not yet money)
Your customers = Those paying you money
Everyone on social media are already maxed out on time, in the fast lane of the highway. Earn their attention through valuable content, engagement or experiences and your following will grow.
Invite your most avid followers to join your community, where they opt to invest more time with you – whether in a private group at an event or free program. Earn their time and your community will grow. This is your middle lane.
Invite your most active community members to become your customers. If what you offer has been worth their attention and their time, it’s far simpler for them to trust your higher level products or services will be worth their money. This is your slow lane.
Every industry have a relationship between followers, community & customers. But a safe rule-of-thumb across all is 100 followers leads to 20 community members to 1 customer.
(As an example, within Entrepreneurs Institute we have 20,000 new followers each week, 5,000 new community members, and 250 new paying customers)
Too many entrepreneurs today don’t have these three lanes, or don’t manage the flow from one lane to the next. Which means pushing people who don’t want to be pushed or wondering where all the customers are.
“Don’t try and hitch a ride in the fast lane.”
Understanding that flow has grown and that all the most successful companies today understand the value of nurturing a community over building a list is the difference between success and struggle.
Differentiating between followers, community and customers in 2017 – is the difference of building a flowing highway and an empty country lane.
So how can you use this first trend to redesign your business for 2017?
“Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river.” ~ Lao Tzu