Don’t get Amazoned

The company that puts you out of business will not look like you

The job of an entrepreneur/CEO is to look around the corner to see what is coming in the future. It is hard to know what a competitor looks like when they may not look like me (see: Amazon vs. Sears, Uber vs. Yellow Cab).

When I peek into the future, how do I know what I am looking for? What will my competitor or my business model look like tomorrow? The risk of missing a change in the business model is great.

My role is to work on new processes that can help my clients get more value and make Medic Management Group more competitive. Many CEOs are concerned that disruptive companies may enter their business segment and change the business model. Amazon may not enter my business space — health care management — but I have to worry about companies like Apple and Google.

In my world, I cannot be lulled into thinking that patients will continue to seek health care in brick-and-mortar buildings. The technology explosion in health care does not just relate to genomics, new medications and surgical treatments. Every day new technology is being developed to enable patients to be seen from remote locations through monitoring devices that communicate with the providers. The telemedicine advertisements that we see on TV are just the beginning.

Many entrepreneurs and CEOs are too busy working on the day-to-day issues of their companies to explore new opportunities. We are so entrenched in day-to-day that we do not think like the generation of entrepreneurs that is looking for the new way. In the past, we attended annual trade shows or we would study our competition to see what they were doing. Today, by the time you see what the competition is doing or hear the ideas that are discussed at trade shows, it may be too late.

How do we keep from being ‘Amazoned?’

  1. Get new ideas from businesses not in your industry. When you meet friends or talk with colleagues, do not just ask ‘how’s business?’ Ask what new ideas and technologies they are seeing in their field and consider how they can be adapted to your business.
  2. Perform a critical analysis of the current business by your team or an outside entity. How can we do it better?
  3. Learn about bots, artificial intelligence and new technology, and find out how they relate to your products and offerings.

As the CEO, owner, entrepreneur, you are the chief visionary. You cannot delegate something as important as understanding the future of your company. A 22nd century vision is critical.

Those of us that “skate to where the puck is going, not where it is has been” have an advantage over our competitors, current and future.

Thomas J. Ferkovic is managing partner at Medic Management Group, LLC, a national company based in Akron providing outsourced management and consulting services to physicians and hospitals ensuring successful business operations of their practices.