There are some industries out there which change in the blink of an eye. From one month to the next there are completely different ideas and products being birthed from the industry and keeping up with that fact is a full time job for some. Then there are the industries which evolve at a much slower pace. With each passing year there are some smaller changes seen here and there. Maybe within the span of five years something exciting happens. These changes largely depend on the industry and those working within it. An innovative entrepreneur can turn a slow industry on its head if given the change and that same entrepreneur can slow an industry down with a product so innovative it stalls the community for a time. We asked business owners and entrepreneurs for their thoughts on which industries will see the most change in the next five years.
Some industries are so entrenched with how they operate daily that the thought of change seems out of the question. Then again even the old bastions need a kick in the pants now and then. For Leisa Peterson of WealthClinic, the world of financial advising is a prime target for change. “I am an entrepreneur who recently just left my career as a financial advisor with a major brokerage firm. (After working in financial advising and banking for 16 years and working in financial services for a total of 22 years), I believe that financial advising is going to be an industry that looks very different in 5 years. My disappointment with the industry led me to starting my new company focused on teaching people how to get rid of the fear in their lives around money and while I know there is a long road ahead of me in this mission, I can see signs in many different places that people are not wanting to buy into the fear and scarcity mind-set that is continuously promoted by the financial services industry. Fear allows people to be taken advantage of and so this means people are rising up against being taken advantage of by an industry that charges way more than the value that is often provided.”
Industries will also change with the introduction of even more sophisticated technologies. Ned Gannon of eBrevia, Inc. states that the legal industry will change with the assistance of these new technologies. “I believe the legal industry has the potential to undergo significant change in the next 5 years. The 2008 financial crisis accelerated a number of trends in the legal industry that had been building momentum for some time and that are making value and efficiency of paramount importance. In-house legal departments are under increasing pressure to both improve the efficiency of their own operations while tackling a more expansive workload and also to reduce the amount they spend in legal fees on outside counsel. This pressure to do more with less is in turn passed on to law firms, who in a buyer’s market, must find ways to differentiate themselves and provide more value for clients to justify their fees. Sophisticated artificial intelligence technology that has been successfully utilized in other industries is now beginning to help lawyers perform significantly more efficiently, accurately, and cost effectively. The applications for machine learning technology throughout the legal industry are numerous and range from software for consumers and small businesses to case law research to assisting with due diligence on the world’s largest corporate transactions. At eBrevia, we’re commercializing artificial intelligence technology developed at Columbia University to analyze and extract information from contracts. The technology has applications for due diligence, contract management, and document drafting.”
Another change in an industry has to do with what product will matter most to consumers. For that reason, Ron Rudzin of Saatva Mattress says, industries will have to change. “I could take the retail electronics industry as an example….I believe
that within the next 5 years as ‘search' continues to grow and consumers become more educated on the value of online shopping, the businesses selling the same items will have no choice but to revamp their entire business philosophy. To maintain a healthy top line they will be forced to work on lower margins….This means they will have to figure out ways to be more efficient, whether they decide to operate with less real estate, less employees or figure out better distribution channels. Additionally, companies will also need to stand out with a heightened level of customer service and smart marketing. I believe a company will have to maintain a pristine reputation to have any kind of a sizable business in 5 years. Treating each customer as a best friend will be just as important as any and all efficiencies you put in place. Think about it…If I want a 42″ Sony flat screen, why am I not buying it online for less? These types of brick and mortar businesses will have to finesse the development and growth of their online presence while still trying to preserve themselves as brick and mortar retailers. Trying to be both is challenging….Remember; people may shop stores but will generally buy from anyone online if they offer a better price…Again, a proprietary product has never been more important.”
Change happens to all industries no matter which one you find yourself in. Like a snail, it might not seem like it’s going very fast but the moment you look away the snail has crawled down the path and out of sight. Any change in the industry is an exciting one when you get right down to it. So keep your eyes and ears open and get excited for the next big thing.