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Dealing With Digital Disruption - First Steps

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I had lunch yesterday with SOB. Not a person, but with a Food Truck. Son of a Butcher. And I wasn't alone. I chatted with a number of first-time patrons who remarked reading the Jacksonville Business Journal article, Hogan food truck court final straw for restaurant owners struggling to Downtown gave them the idea. To focus on the clash of two business models would be a disservice to both. It would obscure the most important lesson Jacksonville desperately needs to learn right now. Digital disrupts. Not just owners, or companies, but whole industries.

It's easy to focus on the human cost. Lost jobs, the end of an era, fading memories of good times past. The true cost is borne by our local economy. For every breathless announcement of coming attractions, there is a business obituary of another downtown business giving up the ghost. 

It doesn't need to happen. Jacksonville has everything it needs to turn this situation around. All we need is a different approach, it started when we adopt a digital mindset.

First Steps

Key findings from the annual CEO Summit Report published by KPMG International articulate the challenge. Between now and the year 2020, all industries will experience disruption. Business leaders must choose, disrupt their organization or be disrupted by close competitors. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Secret Shopper - I started my career with McDonald's. The best lesson I learned was served up while attending Hamberger High in Los Angeles. We piled into cars and ate at 20 fast food outlets. Texas Tommy's had a line around the block at 2 am. I visited the Hogan Food Truck Court. I found the longest line, chatted with the customers and the operators. There's a reason why food trucks draw a crowd.

Research - Consider going online and identifying what's working. Can't use a computer? Learn how, find someone who can, or close up shop. 

Customer Experience - Food Trucks are all about the experience. I saw groups of co-workers sitting at a picnic table. They were laughing, having a good time.

Start a Movement - I'm encouraged to hear the news of a downtown restaurant association. Food trucks compete but start with collaboration. Customers love the variety and festival atmosphere.

Jacksonville has plenty of successful, established traditional businesses. If you lead one, disrupt it before someone else does. Please. 

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1 comment

  • Comment Link deborah %AM, %23 %553 %2017 %08:%Mar posted by deborah

    Great insights, Jerry! I will await your specific suggestions for businesses re: HOW to "disrupt." Next blog post, maybe?

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