Over the past few years, we have witnessed many start-up companies disrupting industries by using new business models, often with the help of information technology. Among them is Uber, a ride-hailing app which has disrupted the taxi industry. The hotel industry also faced stiff competition from Airbnb which helps property owners lease out space to those needing them for short-term use.
As someone who’s been an entrepreneur for decades, I can see that the threat by disruptors is real. Many Fortune 500 companies saw their businesses face bankruptcy because they do not keep up with technological changes. At one point, Kodak was an established household name in the photography business. But they failed to either see the impact of digital photography or were too entrenched in their comfort zones. In 2012, it filed for bankruptcy.
This is why I always tell my managers to keep up with the latest technological advances and market needs. Failure to do so means we can be easily beaten in our own game by newcomers in the industry, armed with nothing more than ideas that appeal to the market.
For example in the news industry, print is slowly losing its dominance to online, if it has not already. Focus Malaysia, a business news weekly has been trying to enlarge its market share by enhancing its online presence. And we have been making admirable strides in that respect.
Not only that, Focus Malaysia has also carved a niche organising events like the annual Best Under Billion Awards which has become very popular within business circles. These are business plans that run counter to established practices in the media, which used to focus on generating revenue from print ads.