The Internet has a lot going for it.
Free on line newspapers, web-mail, lots of great information and ideas: anyone can get anything, anytime, anywhereand without paying any money!
The downside – for service based businesses is……everyone now thinks they are an expert.
Want to know how to build a brick wall? Check out the 4560000 videos about home maintenance on YouTube.
Keen to improve your Spanish? Go to one of the 1000000 on line Spanish language programs.
Want to publish a book? Repaint some furniture? Plant a banana tree? It’s all there: anything, anywhere, anytime and for free.
Running a service industry??? The bell tolls for thee – unless……
In the old days you needed experts.
An expert came and fixed your toilet. An expert came and cleaned your roof. An expert tuned your piano. An expert enhanced the performance of your motor vehicle engine.
You wanted to go on holidays so you rang an expert who booked flights and accommodation for you.
You wanted to learn guitar so you went to an expert to teach you to play like Hendrix or Clapton or Neil Young or John Lennon or Kurt Cobain (depending on when you went to see the expert).
But that was then and this, as they say is now.
Everyone is an expert. And when everyone is doing it – no one wants to pay for it.
Try this little test.
Write down any question you can think of – one that needs an answer to help you do a job or task around the house.
In writing this blog post, I came up with, “How to mend a broken curtain rail” – and Google came up with pages and pages of articles, presentations, tips, tricks, hints and guides on how to mend a broken curtain rail. So guess what? I am now an instant expert in curtain rail repairs! Armed with this information I can go and buy the tools, parts and equipment that I need and fix my curtain rail.
Now, that’s great for me. I save time and money and hassle but it is not so good if you are an expert curtain rail fixer-upper with a large mortgage, a family to support and a ravenous business overdraft to feed.
And therein lies the problem for businesses selling knowledge based products and services.
People will no longer pay for information: they want ideas and imagination.
People will no longer pay for what’s known: they want you to help them into the realm of the unknown.
They don’t want you to teach them ”how to” – they want y0u to help them create “what will be”.
Things have value only when they are hard to get. Make things easy to find and free to access and people just simply will not pay for them.
Some of the world’s largest media organisations including newspapers, radio, television and music companies are all grappling with the free for me attitude of many consumers. Add to this to plethora of “do it yourself” instant expert sites and you have a world wide business revolution where knowledge is worthless and what is already know is of little to no value.
The past – what we already know – is worth nothing. The past has never been so distant as it is today as ideas flow and grow more rapidly than at any time in our history as a species.
Selling the present is similarly worthless – because the present is here all too briefly and today’s fads becomes yesterday’s failures faster than ever.
What people will pay for is the future.
In the past it was all about qualifications, knowledge and experience. It was about selling what you knew. Now, everyone knows what you know – so what do you have left to sell?
Now it’s about learning: learning faster than anyone else in your industry and to create ideas faster than your competition. It’s about creativity. And risk taking. And being left field. And being unique. And continuous improvement. And being different. And thinking and doing things no one else has even dared. It’s about forging the future and racing towards tomorrow rather than sitting back and waiting for it to happen.
So all you experts out there….it’s time to move on.Time to accept that the knowledge based economy is dead and buried and the future is for those people who can think it, talk it and see it first.
Be a Nexpert – and in so many ways – the future is yours.