The future is here. It’s time to jump in!

Times have changed and there is no going back, so the quicker so we grasp this nettle and leap into the future the better. Now more than ever is the Nike tagline relevant – Just do it!

By Catherine Wijnberg

As we navigate this tornado of change, I am increasingly aware of how in the future we will be separated not by distance, but by data.

In just over a month we have moved from insisting on face-to-face meetings, to running companies and even countries using remote communication. We are chatting away on Skype, Zoom and Teams, and running conferences, webinars, and training using online platforms such as Webinarjam and Remo.

Soon, we will be using holograms to project ourselves into offices and workspaces on the other side of the globe and auto-translate to teach in virtually any language, anywhere. The future is no longer coming, it’s arrived with a bang!

In South Africa, we are playing catch up. Our education system is stuck in the 1980s, our data is patchy and expensive and our technology score, which ranks number 39 in the world, is concentrated in a small layer of society. Did you now that many matriculants have never touched a keyboard?

Yet in a world where the use of technology and digital solutions is accelerating faster than the virus itself, the future of success will depend solidly on mastery of these competencies.

What this means for South African businesses is that now we are players in the global economy – international companies can tread into our territory just as we can spread into theirs! We must now leap into the digital domain and embrace its potential.

While big businesses will be throwing millions at digital solutions, there are many free and easy, plug-and-play solutions for small businesses. These include solutions for communication (Zoom, Skype, Remo) marketing (web-based e-commerce, apps, social media, Takealot), customer service (chatbots, CRM), and efficiency (online sharing tools such as g-suite, intelligent accounting like Xero).

Times have changed and there is no going back, so the quicker so we grasp this nettle and leap into the future the better. Now more than ever is the Nike tagline relevant – Just do it!

This issue is packed with tips and tools to help you prepare for the future today. If you are dipping into the digital domain, here are 10 tips to help you before you take the plunge. Fetola business mentor Mohamed Majapa has the best advice on how to prepare your business for the new normal and you can find out small businesses are spreading the love during lockdown.

Get comfortable; this is one edition you will want to read cover to cover!

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