LBC Week 6: The Future of Business
For the final episode of the O2 Business Show on LBC, we looked ahead to the future and the tech that can help take your business there.
First up on the show was entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis. He kicked things off by championing the Great British high street. The economic downturn has seen doors close on some of the nation’s best-loved high street stores. In spite of this, some high street businesses are bouncing back and attracting both footfall, and loyal customers. In fact, Emma pointed out that two of the UK’s fastest growing business areas are tattoo parlours (merci, hipsters, merci) and sweet shops (thanks everyone?).
Theo himself has just opened a new branch of Ryman in north London. Here’s what he had to say about why the high street won’t be disappearing anytime soon:
One of the reasons for cynicism towards high street businesses has been the rise of e-commerce. Businesses now need to marry traditional face-to-face customer service with digital innovation and an online presence.
Emma and Clive were joined by Joanne Milner, CEO of Debretts, which brands itself as a ‘250 year old start up’. Debretts was established in 1769 with the publishing of John Debrett’s The Peerage, a guide to the ruling class and it’s Empire. Think of it as Twitter in book form. The company still publishes these guides today as well as bringing its expertise to the 21st century by training graduates and professionals:
Finally, we were joined by Ed Bussey, CEO of Quill Content. Quill creates bespoke content in a range of languages for various business requirements and employs over 300 freelance writers around the world. When asked about the future of content marketing, Ed admitted that, though his company have made business projections over the next few years, it’s impossible to judge the pace of change in his industry. “It’s moving at lightning speed,” he said, which means that businesses should focus on providing a good service, but also keep business models as flexible as possible.
Tech tips from our Guru
Our O2 Guru was also on hand to offer some advice for businesses on the technology that can help take them forward. While smaller companies may not have huge amounts of budget to invest in futuristic gadgets, there are plenty of affordable devices that can help improve efficiency, customer service, productivity and the growth of your business
Work on the move
To work effectively from wherever you are, you’ll need a smartphone capable of keeping up. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has an impressive full HD screen with multi-screen capabilities that let you keep an eye on emails while working in a different area of your phone.
Work from you wrist (really)
Smartwatches have had mixed reviews to date but the tide may be turning as devices become more advanced and suited to user needs. An exciting addition to the smartwatch family is the Samsung Gear S. Essentially a smartphone strapped to your wrist, the Gear S has its own 3G connection and a curved screen. It’s great for responding to emails, as well as making calls, browsing the web and sending texts. All from your wrist!
Google Glass can give you a new world view – literally. The futuristic specs let you monitor the world, your progress and your business all from a small portable screen inches from your eyes. It’ll change the way you explore the world, travel and, of course, work and communicate.
Virtual reality is no longer an abstract concept: it’s here and comes in cardboard box. Smartphones can be transformed into basic virtual reality handsets using the cardboard headset and Google’s easy-to-use software. Virtual reality is already making its mark on customer service both online and in the real world – you can read more about its potential for your business in our special feature on it with Chris Brauer.
That was the final episode in this series of The O2 Business Show, but we still have one final giveaway – for your chance to win a tech package worth £1000, click here.
For more business and tech advice around marketing, flexible working and much more, catch up on any episodes you’ve missed here.
Don’t forget you can always ask an O2 Guru for help and advice in store, online or over the phone.