Over the weekend, I was looking at our business plan, which is updated regularly, and I realised that I have absolutely no idea of what is to come. Like many entrepreneurs, we like to plan the year ahead, and have over-arching 5-year goals. 
This financial year could cripple your business

This year, I have a feeling is very different to the years before. We have seen so much and it has affected our business, and I am sure a lot of yours. 

Take for instance:
  • Terrorism: Are you a tad scared about what affect that has on humanity and selfishly, your business? At what level will we experience terrorism this year, and what will be the after-affects? I look at London and I no longer want to travel there. It might be the whole scare tactic that they were looking to achieve, but I can't help it - I'm not interested in being somewhere that is a target. I have been offered to attend a conference in Jordan in February, and I asked the host "are you sure it is safe?" I think that is a fair question to ask, and as insulting as it may seem to the host, I really think that in the warped mind of terrorists, to have 500 to 1000 entrepreneurs all with businesses that have greater than $1 million in revenue in one venue, from all over the world may be a statement. I don't feel foolish for asking the question or thinking this way, because no-one really knows what is going to happen in the world in the next 12 months, but what I do know is that we need to do more to combat it. Do I know what that is? No. I have no idea, and that is scarier in itself. Does anyone know what we collectively as a world trying to create peace are going to do to stop terrorism?
  • Social media: We are all sucked into social media and now many live our lives on it. It's true because data science proves it, and if you just go to a restaurant, see how many people lacking in manners are on their phones or checking their phones instead of being present with the company that sits in front of them. Where social media has got us sucked in, and our own version of reality television plays out through our social media interactions, we are being manipulated and played - big time. Look at Facebook and Instagram. Do we get the feeds of our friends that we are connected to? No. We don't. In fact, we only get a portion of them and they are usually the most active of the group. Facebook and Instagram decide who we see and when we see them. I'm personally not OK with that. I connected to people that I want to interact with, not look up every time I want to know what is going on in their lives. From a business perspective, we all need to start getting deep pockets. If we want the people following us to see our posts, then we have to pay for it. How screwed up is that? Sure these guys had to make money, but should that not have been a disclaimer up front. We invest time and money to connect with people and have them follow us, and now it's all about money. I watched my dogs instagram account (thereal_pippasmith) go from 9,000 organic followers to 5,600 followers, and from an average 300 to 500 likes to 100 to 200 likes because Instagram changed the algorithm. Now my dog, of course has no time to like others back (her paws are too big for the keyboard), but this is absurb.
  • Tax: Someone has to pay for all of this spending the Government seems hellbent on doing. Think a nice donation to Hillary Clinton that came out of our pockets through tax. Would anyone in Australia actually approve that if they were running the business of "Australia"? I don't think so. Even if you were a fan, you wouldn't. Big corporates not paying tax is another big issue. I am somewhat a supporter of Malcolm Turnbull except I can bet your bottom dollar that he has had his tax minimised to the max when he sold his businesses prior to joining Politics. A few off-shore accounts or businesses out of Singapore of the like? I don't know that for a fact, but I wouldn't be surprised. Then we read about the lack of tax the charitable billionaires in Australia have been paying. They make the rich list, and their profits are incredibly high, on the back of usually the average Mom and Dad at home, and they drive on our roads, land their jets in airports, and send their kids to schools - all in some way funded (in part) by tax payers money. Shocking. Really - it is. So, let's push down the working class in Australia and make them poorer, and ensure that there is a great divide.
  • Women and men: Its gone to an extreme. I would hate to have a son growing up right now listening to all of this "women's rights" stuff. If we are going to play the equal game, lets get rid of Telstra Business Women's Awards, because if you are going to do that, you need to have Telstra Business Men's Awards. Sorry to single out Telstra, because they are one of many but the easiest to remember when you are writing a blog. Let's not have 50 percent of women on boards, and just have the right people on boards with the right credientials and experience. However, if a board has no women, or just a token, then perhaps we need to lobby against individual boards through shareholders - but across the entire business and Government organisations, let's just have the right people. I'm sure you will find that there will be a decent representation of women and men, and it will be in fact fairer. It also gives our sons a sense that it is more important to be fair and that they are not less than a woman.
  • Disruption: We have only seen the tip of what is possible with disruption. We also have not gone through the crash of some "disruptive" businesses really not making the grade. It's going to be nasty when that happens, and a lot of people's money is going to go down the drain. Robots will replace people, but people will have new jobs and the robots cannot exist without human beings - so they co-exist and it is not possible for this to be any different. What we do need to invest in is training people to do new jobs for when that occurs - and that needs to start now. A robotic bricklayer replacing a very old industry, will see the livelihoods of many be tested. We should show social responsibility and start training people in jobs like this to program robots, or do other jobs that still need a human to do.
  • Media: I am shocked that Cardinal George Pell is guilty according to newspapers and social media. He hasn't even had his day in Court and yet he is guilty - or at least that is what is all over the media and social media. How wrong is that? Should the media be able to paint someone as guilty when they haven't even had a trial? I've seen this one before, when someone has gone to Court over some "evidence" which proved to be wrong, and won in Court, but is spending a lifetime with people yelling at them in the street about a crime they didn't do. Today, some papers have retracted a little and are now talking about whether or not it is possible for George Pell to get a fair trial, and that is absolutely what he and any other person deserves. It's not like us watching a terrorist blow someone up. This needs to go to trial and George Pell, who has long suffered from tall poppy syndrome, needs to have a fair trial. I have no idea whether he is guilty or not, but the basic fundamental is that he deserves a fair trial and any media outlet that has slandered him or painted a picture of guilt to their viewers and readers need to be addressed. By all means, if he is guilty, and the Courts have found that, go to town on him - but until that day, don't try and make the Australian population think that this man is guilty.

I'm looking at the next year without blinkers on. As a business, Marketing Eye and our associated businesses have to be smarter and pre-empt changes. We need to stay nimble enough to adapt to change fast, and not fall behind in seeking to be at the forefront of marketing worldwide.

As each and every challenge comes our way, we are notably going to have to navigate and change our course. Investing in people is imperative, and technology is our game-changer.

Marketing will underpin everything we do. We want to grow and to do that, we need to be more focused on marketing and communications as a business. We need as much consistency as our clients receive from doing business with us.

Our clients and potential clients, need to be treated like they are royalty. They need more experiences, more often, that make them smile and their jobs 100% easier. If they don't have to worry about marketing, then they can get on with the job of growing their businesses.
Mellissah Smith is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with more than 20 years' experience in marketing.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert, author, writer, public speaker and technology innovator. Having worked with more than 300 companies across technology, medical device, professional services, manufacturing, logistics, finance and health industries, Mellissah has a well-established reputation as an experienced marketing professional with more than 20 years experience. As the founder and managing director of Marketing Eye, she has taken the company from startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise with offices in Australia and the US. Mellissah is also the Editor in Chief of Marketing Eye Magazine, a quarterly magazine that cover marketing, entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellbeing. #mellissah #marketingeye

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