How Business Models Will Change in the Future

January 31, 2017

The tried and tested business models of the past are rapidly becoming redundant. With every advent of new technology empowering the consumer, businesses have had to promote versatility over stability and predict future needs rather than meet current ones. What changes we have seen in the past 60 years are but the beginning of what is sure to be a full-scale revolution in industrial management.

The ideal future business model will incorporate fewer full-time employees, with greater emphasis on contractors. Initiating casual rather than standard terms of employment fits the current way the workforce operates: People are more likely than ever to occupy multiple positions and different jobs throughout their working lives.

In turn, this system will promote a greater delegation of labour. A host of companies have sought to bypass traditional corporate models by employing people in a contractual or casual capacity—Uber being a prime example. In much the same way, customers have taken to trading privately—engaging Airbnb rather than booking hotels, or Feastly rather than going to restaurants. More often we see assets and services provided for rent, or to be shared, rather than for purchase.

This is evident of a certain social broadening: A collective trading sphere. Rather than the conventional pyramid structure employed by large businesses of the past, the new model is likened to a web—a system by which individual employees contribute directly to a central hub, rather than to ranks higher up. Supposing that globalisation reaches its logical conclusion, a vast number of businesses will become international, and begin to operate in this way.

The future path of the business model is the provision of a fluid system both dynamic and mobile. Providing personalisation and individuality has already become of the utmost importance. As technology empowers the individual consumer, so must businesses seek to empower their own customer base; especially since the wider customer entity has begun to purchase and to function much like a company itself.

The future of business models will require a brand presence before markets have been defined. Whereas the old, staid model established a demand, then operated and expanded to meet it, the new model, and indeed the model of the future, requires prescience. Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Tesla have all benefited from engaging their resources to meet potential future demands, rather than merely present ones. On the other hand, Nokia is a clear example of a company that, while technically doing everything right, failed to alter their model in such a way.

As more jobs become automated, more industries interconnected, and technology continues to advance at a breakneck pace, the future of the business model lies in the outsourcing and the delegation of labour. It lies in preparing to meet potential demand, and in establishing a presence beyond clearly defined or understood markets.

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