A while back we ran an advertisement for a large, low cost provider in the communications industry, which took a swipe at more expensive independent providers.

Unsurprisingly, it ruffled a few feathers amongst our audience. Commenters pointed out how the influx of low cost solutions is devaluing the entire industry and making life even tougher for small business.

They’re right. But it’s much more far reaching than that.

The global nature of the internet gives rise to new players and models that are redefining the value of every industry. Music, movies, design, manufacturing, telecommunications, finance, advertising, consulting and (gulp!) publishing … digital first arrived as the destroyer, before becoming the saviour.

Today, across many industries, you’ll find experienced professionals and high end solution providers being undercut by much cheaper offerings – increasingly from all parts of the globe.

The same ‘level playing field’ of the internet that helps small businesses tackle corporates, also helps corporates go global and tiny bootstrappers to take on everyone, from anywhere. Location, money, education and experience no longer command the fat premium they once did.

For the established this can be highly aggravating and threatening. Indeed, we see passionate – and divided – discussions about it on Flying Solo. Even major Australian retailers are up in arms about it.

Beyond geography, online technologies can also remove many of the traditional limitations of speed, quality and price. The reality of the internet is that there will be ever faster and cheaper options. So unless you want to join the price war, differentiation on quality is now more important than ever. You’re now competing with the best in the world. The internet is globalisation on steroids.

So what options do you have for positioning yourself in this new reality?

  • Try and hold back the wave of global competition by protecting the status quo?
  • Try to maintain margins by educating the broader market on the true value of what you do?
  • Or, focus on customers who do understand your value, deliver exceptional quality and embrace digital as the opportunity of a lifetime.

The digital horse has bolted long ago. You can shut the creaky gate and yearn for the good old days, or you can hop on for the ride.

How is digital impacting your business? Share your thoughts below.

“ Unless you want to join the price war, differentiation on quality is now more important than ever. ”
 
Peter Crocker

Peter Crocker is a director of Flying Solo responsible for marketing and advertising. As a business copywriter he partners with digital agencies and corporate clients on websites and digital content. He’s the co-author of Flying Solo Revisited – How to go it alone in business.

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