Business leaders need to be decisive as they plot the future

The brick vs. click debate is a discussion all business leaders continue to have as the world becomes more reliant on digital technology.

Amazon seemed to deviate from the tech trend earlier this summer when it spent $13.7 billion to buy Whole Foods, which is very much a brick-and-mortar business. The move has consumers intrigued and wondering how Amazon might change the way we all buy groceries.

As technology continues to evolve, leaders must take a hard look at their business model. It’s hard to imagine there will ever be a day when consumerism goes completely online. Certain industries will always need a physical presence to connect with customers. And yet, a growing number of businesses have moved away from the traditional office or plant as their home base, choosing instead to exist on the internet and through social media.

This isn’t the first time that corporate America has faced a pivotal point in its lifecycle.

When John D. Rockefeller pioneered the oil industry and Henry Ford was developing the first automobile in the early 1900s, there were people who didn’t believe in what they were doing and others who were flat out against it. Rockefeller and Ford surely had moments when they wondered if they could make their ideas work.

Still, they persevered and as a result, forever changed our ability to move about the world.

Entrepreneurs who are successful don’t get distracted by naysayers who tell them they can’t do something. They do the research, consult with others in their network and identify the right move for their company’s future. When you understand your business and the mindset of your customers, you can make more informed decisions. This knowledge provides you with peace of mind as you move forward in a new direction.

In some cases, the bold, contrarian move is to invest in a sector that others have given up on.

For example, when Warren Buffett invested $377 million last month in STORE Capital, it seemed to be inconsistent with where the market is headed. Like other real estate investment trusts with retail exposure, the firm has seen its stock dip due to fears about the future of the retail business model, according to GuruFocus.

Much of STORE Capital’s properties are in the service industry, however, meaning they face less competition from companies like Amazon. There is also the fact that Buffett is one of the richest men in the world. When he decides to invest in a company, it’s pretty safe to assume he has a good reason for doing so.

The lesson here is that just because everyone else is moving in one direction, that doesn’t mean you have to follow. If you’ve done the research and concluded it’s the right play for your business, make the move and don’t look back.

Fred Koury is president and CEO at Smart Business Network Inc.