I recently saw a full-page newspaper advertisement that Radio Shack ran back in 1984.
It featured such electronic wonders as a desktop computer, a VHS camcorder, a “mobile cellular telephone,” a deluxe portable CD player, a phone answering machine, a voice-actuated cassette tape recorder, an AM/ FM clock radio, a micro-thin calculator and in-ear stereo headphones. The total cost of those items (and remember, this is in 1980 dollars) came to $2,894.
Today, a small device that fits in our pocket handles everything (and much more) that those 1984 devices could do and costs about 80 percent less. Here’s today’s big question: Do you want to be 1984 Radio Shack or 2014 Apple? The good news: it’s completely your choice.
Aflac recently asked 300 brokers to rank their top concerns about today’s benefits business environment. Twenty-seven percent worry about client uncertainty concerning health care reform. Twenty-six percent are concerned about the need and methods to use in diversifying their benefit offerings. Nearly a third (29 percent) expressed worry about remaining relevant. Thirty-eight percent are anxious about understanding the impact of health care reform. The thing that troubled most of them (48 percent) is how the rising cost of health care might affect client decisions.
Adding a bit of color commentary to the Top 5 List, nearly half of those surveyed said that they had considered leaving the business. Two-thirds said that many of their peers had already left the business. All of these observations are equally troubling, but for very different reasons.
The “who do you want to be” question belies a very cogent reality. Every industry, save ours, has undergone transformational change. Now it is our turn. It is true that some have left the business and that others are contemplating career changes. I know I am going to catch some flak for saying this, but if we lose the “stuck on spreadsheet” folks, we will all be better off – and so will our clients.