Monthly Archives: January 2009

Jan 2009: The World is Flat

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century, by Thomas Friedman, Farrar, Strous & Giroux, 2005.

This book, written by an award-winning New York Times columnist, is one of my all-time favorites. It’s filled with great stories and examples of what’s going on in our world. It’s also an enjoyable read, with a captivating, story-telling style.

He explains the complex economic, political and foreign policy issues that have worked since about the year 2000 to “flatten” our world. He tells us what he means by this and then helps us tackle the questions that affect us as business owners and managers: how do we adapt to this new, flatter world?

Chapter 10 delves into how companies cope in the new world. Friedman gives us seven rules for changing and adapting, so we can flourish. Although all seven rules are intriguing, I picked out these two to incorporate into my business strategy and growth for 2009. I like them!

  • Following the Starbucks model, allow your customers to customize the services they purchase from you.
  • Collaboration is essential. You can’t be an expert in everything; partner with other professionals to offer maximum value to your customers.

And finally, Friedman talks about the emerging “social entrepreneur”. These people burn with a desire to make a positive social impact on the world. The flattening of our world has been their perfect platform to launch very innovative projects. Could you be one of them?

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January Tip: Be Bold, Be Creative, and Look for Trends

For this first Monday on this first month of the 2009, let’s focus our eyes toward the future.

What are the trends in today’s global economy and world markets? What is everyone talking about? What are the big problems our country and other countries face? What industries are growing, what is declining and where are people willing to put their time, energy and efforts?

Here are 3 ways to find out what’s happening:

  • Grab an international, national and local newspaper. With a black Sharpie, scan the headlines for trends. Circle them all and start to notice big areas of interest such as the “Green” movement, sustainable energy, universal health care and global inter-connections, to name a few.
  • Listen to people’s complaints. What are they struggling with? Is this a trend (example: lack of time)? Remember: where there is a problem, there is a job.
  •  Watch those wild gadgets and products hitting the market. What is their appeal and what need do they satisfy?

This past year was certainly a wild roller coaster ride. And 2009 will probably be just as challenging. So hold onto your hats and be ready to kick it up to the next level. Let’s be bolder, more creative and a lot more willing to take risks as we grow ourselves and our businesses in the New Year.

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