Hands up everyone who is enjoying Netflix now that it has finally landed down under! I for one have been glued to the couch 24/7, managing to be social only when subtly reminded that we still have friends who want to see us.

The other night I got all nostalgic and went in search of a childhood favourite “the Jetsons.” Ba Bahh, no Jetsons available on the Australian Netflix. Which probably meant no Gilligans Island and no Lost in Space. I was in the mood for anything contemporary so it was off to bed.

When my head hit the pillow I drifted off thinking about how different things were when I was growing up;

  • After school we would play a game with the neighborhood kids until being called into the house for dinner.
  • For many of us, our mothers didn’t work, and mealtime, including Saturday and Sunday lunchtime, was a sit down affair where we talked about the day’s events.
  • Everybody chipped in with the household chores, one sibling washing the dishes, one drying and another putting everything away. 
  • Depending on your age it’s possible that the only night you sat in front of the TV for dinner was Sunday night.
  • The family gathered around the TV (no one had two TVs) and everybody went to bed and chilled with a book before lights out.
  • Newspapers were read in their entirety and shops closed at 12pm on a Saturday.
  • Lawns were mowed on Sunday and a trip to buy clothes was twice a year.

Fast forward forty years and our Little House on the Prairie has morphed into real life Jetsons.

  • Now both parents typically work full time, and single parent households are a major portion of the societal fabric.
  • Family meals are hit and miss, the microwave is used more often than the oven while dishwashers have replaced idle chatter.
  • The wastepaper bin is full of fast food wrappers instead of fresh fruit bags and we recycle mobile phones as often as glass bottles.
  • Entertainment has become a digital substitute for family relationships, everybody disappears into their space to rewind, download, stream, surf and shop.
  • The social themes that once connected us no longer exist as we all pursue our individual tastes and interests.

These changes represent great challenges for business and if your smart, great opportunities. As society changes, businesses who understand what has changed and adapt and look for new tactics to better serve our evolving lifestyles, habits and culture, the more successful they will have.

Consumers increasingly have a digital-first posture and the majority of the time, the first & ongoing brand interaction they will have with your business doesn’t happen a physical location anymore, it often begins and ends online, and increasingly it’s on the small screen. 

The online revolution is also creating more porous borders and opening new global markets, offering more choice for consumers and more competition for business. These factors along with a long drawn out recession are the key reasons why business is so hard for so many.

So what can we as small businesses do about it?

Great question. When Google management first wrote their company philosophy “10 things we know to be true” (it’s a great list, you should check it out), they had only been operating for a few years. Note that the second item on their list of principals that exists to guide their entire business is:

“It’s best to do one thing really, really well.”

Google explain it this way;

We do search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better. Through continued iteration on difficult problems, we’ve been able to solve complex issues and provide continuous improvements to a service that already makes finding information a fast and seamless experience for millions of people.

Google

For smaller businesses today the idea of doing one thing well makes a lot of sense. For many it is the key to finding a point of difference. Because in this hyper-busy world where information is at our fingertips that brands who help the consumer by making choices easier will out perform the competition. Consumers are increasingly relying on brands that understand their needs and don’t let them down because they provide a clear, unambiguous solution to their problems. And for any business sector, that is more easily achieved if you have a narrow focus. Being all things to all people is the grey area we should all be steering clear of.

Offering real value by doing one thing well and a great experience keeps customers loyal and encourages word of mouth, especially on the internet. If you don’t believe me think about Netflix and how they satisfy one simple need–delivering online content to the home! If you can be best in a narrow game you’ll always come out winning.