Even though large multi-national companies have been around for decades manufacturing and distributing their products and services in key nations around the world, I believe that the Internet has connected the world in a way that has changed American and International economies forever. At stake is the health of individual jobs and companies as well as the financial success of all citizens. In today’s “networked world” – any product or service that reaches a critical mass of demand can probably be produced or performed somewhere else in the country or the world much cheaper. Millions of jobs and services have already been outsourced out of the United States and there are probably tens of millions more to come. Workers and small companies need to Innovate and Specialize NOW or face their fate of downsizing their standard of living. Procrastination is not an option.
Anyone who has a good paying white collar or union job with a large corporation and feels very safe in their position is probably the most vulnerable to face the financial disaster of losing their job. This is especially true for those who have been around their company a long time with lots of benefits and future paid medical insurance and pension plans. These jobs are ripe for elimination via outsourcing. If I were in this position, I would seriously be trying to upgrade my skills immediately in order to specialize in a field that hasn’t yet reached the critical mass to be outsourced.
At the other end of the spectrum – those employees who work very hard at labor intensive jobs for low compensation and little benefits are probably safe for now in their positions with their companies. However they have to be concerned in the global economy if their employer is not innovating and specializing, which could lead to their company becoming non-competitive and obsolete in the future marketplace.
The news headlines today unfortunately are full of company failures in manufacturing. However mergers seem to lead to the most layoffs as high paying jobs are consolidated or outsourced to save millions in expenses annually. Those left without a job and without a plan have only a few options. Unfortunately most of the time, they cannot match their income and benefits at another company using the same skills they have acquired. If they are lucky, option one might be to take a pay cut in annual salary and benefits in a similar company for the time being, until that company merges or decides to outsource work. The second option is to change fields and work for another company for substantially less pay and benefits. The third option, which might be the best of all if one has some savings stashed away - is to start their own small service business in a field of great demand in an area of the country that is growing in population.
As a consumer, we all need services performed for us. For instance if you live in any growing area and call almost any contractor to perform a service, you’ll be lucky to even get a return phone call. Most contractors tend to work almost exclusively for builders and just don’t want to be bothered with direct consumer business. Many services that consumers need done do not require decades of experience to perform them. They just take willing, able and conscientious entrepreneurs who want to perform a quality service at a fair price. These willing able entrepreneurs are in high demand in booming areas of the country and the more specialized and innovative, the better. For instance I met an entrepreneur that touches up and repairs new delivered furniture for several large furniture stores. He was very proud of the quality work he performed. He told me he has been over-booked solid for furniture touch-ups and repairs for the last five years. His small specialization and innovation of making repairs quickly and efficiently produced a great income and a good life for his family.
Another example of innovation and specialization is a Print Shop I used for some work recently. The owner was 27 years old and was running a million dollar specialty print shop without owning one printing press. His associates worked with clients on advertising campaigns; did all the graphic layout work in-house; and contracted all the printing work to a network of large high quality, high volume printers. They produced work overnight in most cases. He had the best prices on the highest quality of work I have yet to see – with the quickest turn around time. This young entrepreneur has a degree in marketing from college and invested in himself to put his knowledge and skills to work. He recently launched the most innovative printing website I’ve ever seen. His latest goal is to WOW customers around the entire country, just as he has in his local neighborhood.
Innovation and specialization has no limits. The only limit is your imagination. It’s time for American workers and entrepreneurs to begin thinking out of the box. If you are involved in a growing industry, think of ways to become more efficient; more customer friendly; and easier to do business with. If you are involved in a shrinking industry – get out of it quick and change before you become obsolete; out of work; or out of business. Remember that procrastination is not an option here. Innovate and Specialize Now!