The rules of business are changing.
It’s more important than ever for small business owners to stay up with current trends, according to Jonathan Liebert, CEO and executive director of Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado and the Colorado Institute for Social Impact.
“Just in terms of technology and in terms of the next generations and how they look and view the world, everything is up for grabs,” he said.
Several other seasoned professionals also shared their expertise with business owners during the annual Small Business Week, hosted by the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center and the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.
The week featured a variety of seminars, including three 20-minute workshops on 2018’s emerging business trends.
Liebert led a discussion about an increasingly popular business strategy called disruptive innovation.
“Disruption in a business is when you have a smaller company with fewer resources that actually has success in changing an established business’ market,” Liebert explained.
When customers begin adopting the new company’s offerings in volume, disruption has occurred. One example: Consumer product giant Procter & Gamble’s North American market for Gillette razors and blades fell from 71 to 59 percent in the five years after the online-based Dollar Shave Club launched, according to Forbes.
“You have a lot of leaders really touting that at their companies, disruptive innovation is their guiding star,” Liebert said. “They want to be disruptive. They don’t want to follow the traditional path or do something from a status quo perspective.”
Business heads also are starting to advertise social impacts their companies have, like creating jobs or donating their products to the less fortunate.
“Nine out of ten Millennials will switch from a favorite brand — that is tried, true and trusted — to one they’ve never used if it has some sort of social purpose behind it,” Liebert said, adding that the average American isn’t far behind, with 8 out of 10 willing to change for the same reason.
However, while the disruptive innovation strategy may pay off substantially, Liebert says there is no guarantee of its success.
“It’s risky,” he said. “You have to be very innovative. Disruption is definitely a process and a though-out strategy.”
Another of the mid-week workshops focused on the importance of mindfulness in the workplace.
Together, Amy Conley and Melanie Nienaber, of Kaiser Permanente Colorado, taught attendees about the significance of “being present” in the moment.
“We spend most of our lives living in the past or worried about the future,” Nienaber said. “This makes it hard to engage in our present lives and often causes us to be stressed and have those anxious feelings.”
Practicing mindfulness can improve an employee’s physical and emotional well-being, the duo said.
“We also firmly believe if you’re practicing this as a leader, it trickles down to employees and customers,” Nienaber said.
The last workshop was facilitied by SecureSet and featured a game where attendees got a glimpse of what it’s like to be on both the attacking and defending end of a cyber attack.
“It’s been a long week but an amazing one full of tons of information for our small businesses,” said Aikta Marcoulier, executive director of the Pikes Peak SBDC.