Disruptive. Challenging. Relentless. Exciting.
Those are the words used to describe 2018.
The year started well enough. Businesses had settled after the November 2017 State election. Work on the long-fought-for NQ Stadium had started. Townsville’s water issues were given serious considerations. Unemployment rate were still high but no longer a headline. In January, most in the business community were quietly optimistic for the year ahead. Perhaps the hard yards we had put in since 2012, the long-hours, the investments, the hard decisions, the soul-searching, perhaps all of this was finally going to pay off in 2018.
In many cases, it did, but the intensity that came with it took many of us by surprise.
We are in the “future”. The one we imagined when reading about mega-trends, when we talked of digital disruption and pervasive technology. A future without limits or boundaries. We are now bombarded with information, offers, and opportunities on an hourly basis. I have given up trying to keep my inbox to one single screen. I do emails before going to bed. By 6am the next day, I have 30 waiting for me.
It wasn’t like that last year.
Inboxes are not just full of rag sheets and spam either. It is news and information affecting operations and decision making. It’s inquiries by increasingly more savvy and discerning customers. It’s offers and opportunities that were not available a few months ago, needing careful assessment and a brand-new decision framework. The social media beast, an essential part of most organisations’ marketing mix, needs feeding most days. You have to think of stories using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) keywords; photograph moments that personalise your business; analyse your followers’ behaviour to know if they like to read your posts on Tuesdays at 9am or Sundays at 9pm.
Cloud-everything and apps are king. Regional small businesses have been slow in their embrace of technology, but the tipping point was reached in 2018. This year, a lot of us had to learn new multi-dimensional systems, design new processes, change our thinking about management and decision-making, review our organisation’s skill set, and keep the operational wheels turning. All the while, money continued to be hard to get.
One outcome of this wide-ranging shift is our relationship with time. The Monday to Friday week is a notion held only by Baby Boomers. Generation Z and Millennia are boundary-less in their usage of time. Long days and long weeks are the current norm and the line between the professional and the personal is thinning. Things are changing, as they should. New opportunities are within reach. It’s not just new green shoots appearing, it’s a new eco-system with new rules, new parameters for success.
It is exciting and tough at the same time and will continue in 2019. My New Year’s resolution is to keep working hard and pay more attention to balance – extend my morning walk by 10 minutes; find the time to read one more book. What will yours be?
Happy New Year.
The Townsville Chamber has updated its website. Pay us a visit on www.townsvillechamber.com.au. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin too!