I attended a very positive meeting on Friday afternoon. The client is investing in a new website, they’d met with banks during the week who spoke to them about “green shoots” and a positive outlook for their industry after several very difficult years. It was all very upbeat and just the kind of meeting you want to have on a Friday afternoon. I left it and on arrival back at the office discovered the largest printer in Scotland had gone into administration.
I remember attending the IPEX exhibition in Birmingham sometime in the early 1990s, and being blown away at the technology on display then. IPEX is an international printing industry fair and at the time I worked in that industry. I left Birmingham astonished at what could be done and the speed it could be done at and knew then the printing industry was going to change dramatically. I decided that weekend to leave the printing industry.
The demise of a large printer is bad news on a number of levels, it removes competition from the market, reduces overall capacity and of course results in significant job losses. This news coincided with Jessops closing and was followed closely by HMV and Blockbuster experiencing difficulties too. There may well be green shoots, but clearly not for everyone.
Adapting to the changing business landscape will clearly be key this year. This isn’t news of course, many people, including us, have been saying it and trying to do it for a while now. Clearly, again, web will play a bigger part. We noticed that one of our clients received just over 20% of all web traffic from a mobile device in the last 6 months of 2012; since Christmas Day that’s risen to 40%. That’s a stunning change in such a short time, our ability to evolve with that type of change is the challenge.
We enter 2013 positively. The disappointing news last week simply reminded me that 20 years ago I was concerned enough about change to alter my career. Change is going on all the time, sometimes it’s dramatic and obvious, sometimes gradual and nuanced, it all needs adapted too. The only thing that hasn’t changed is change itself and how we deal with it.