If you live in or frequently travel to NYC or you are an avid news follower, you’ve most likely heard about the proposed soda ban in the city. In order to encourage patrons to live healthier lifestyles, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed that restaurants should be restricted to selling soda and other sugary soft drinks in sizes no larger than a pint. However, the ban that would have gone into effect on Tuesday, March 12th was put on pause after New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling raised some concerns on its potential effect on businesses. No matter where you stand, there is a big lesson we can learn about our websites and social media from this situation: you must hedge your bets.
Despite the ban on the soda ban, some restaurants are still feeling the impact of the legislation. For instance, Manhattan chain Brother Jimmy’s BBQ is facing a $1,000 sunk cost for glassware purchased to comply with the impending ban. Usually, the restaurants get their cups free from Coca-Cola, but the soda giant was backed up with requests. Now the cups have been rendered unnecessary, and the company is starting out with a loss of $1,000. Let’s use this as a cautionary tale and examine when we should be proactive, patient, and reactive in anticipation of or response to changes on the web.
Is the Change Set in Stone?
If you are 100% certain that a change is on its way, taking some time to prepare before it arrives is a smart move. For instance, we know that Facebook will be rolling out a new News Feed layout that will place a higher value on visuals. Spending some time taking high quality photos and creating engaging visuals to drip out once the transition is made is a wise idea.
Is There No Wiggle Room?
Sometimes there is no way around adopting new technology. For instance, your CMS may introduce a necessary update required to continue to support features on your website. Or integrating technologies have decided to change their systems. Running a digital business may mean staying ahead of upgrades and security concerns.
Does it Require Only a Small Initial Investment?
If you must only make a small investment in time and money to prepare, it’s worth it. You’ll have a lot to gain by being ahead of the game when it is time to transition and little to lose if the change does not actually come to fruition. When it comes to certain social trends being among the first to implement can set you apart from your competition.
Is There a Grace Period?
Brother Jimmy’s BBQ followed the philosophy “it’s better to be safe than sorry.” Unfortunately, they didn’t anticipate the hidden trap set by Judge Tingling. In this case, it would have benefited the restaurant chain to take advantage of the 3-month grace period that the city offered. Apply this to the roll out of new technology. Will the new technology or social platform catch-on? Give it a grace period and then make a decision before you implement changes.
Is the Change Still in Beta?
Seizing the opportunity to beta test a new technology is always exciting, but you may end up wasting time and money attempting to conform to standards that wind up changing in a month or two. Depending upon the type of business you are in, it may be better to wait until all the kinks have been worked out. Especially if implementation will affect productivity.
What Do the Trend Reports and Research Say?
Being patient can be a great thing, but if you wait too long you may miss opportunities. When it comes to our websites, mobile has been on the rise for the past few years and small businesses have been holding off. The research shows that the end of 2013 had the largest jump in mobile use, and by 2014, mobile will over take desktops. You have been patient, now make a plan to be proactive before 2014.
Was There No Way to Predict this Change?
As we saw with Google+ quietly rolling out a new cover size and other updates, web advancements can sneak up on us. Since we can’t possibly predict these changes, we have no choice but to react to them as soon as we can after they occur.
In business it is often better to be proactive or even patient; most of us try to avoid being reactive as an overall best practice, but it does happen.
If there’s one thing that we’ve learned about technology and the web it’s that change is inevitable and fluid. There’s no doubt that you will have to adapt to it, but you must hedge your bets to decide the optimal way and time to do so. These decisions will vary from company type, industry and consumer expectation. If you want to discuss the new technologies on the web or within social media to get ahead of the curve, schedule a free consultation with us today