The Future of SMEs – (Part 2) Predictions for SME 2035
Just imagining a world like the one shown on the Netflix show "Black Mirror" gives me goosebumps, and not necessarily in a good way. It shows an "imagined" view of what’s going to happen to society and technology.
In part 1 of the future of SMEs according to Osmos, evolve or die, we talked about the evolution of the consumer and the lag of SMEs. The disconnection that exists between the SME and the consumer, we gave examples of multinational businesses that went bankrupt because they didn’t adapt to the consumer.
Now let's have some fun and imagine what could happen with SMEs by 2035. As in any future forecast there are tragedies but there are also great changes that tend to be positive. We live in a world that isn’t perfect and where the only constant thing is change.
We asked the oracles of Osmos to tell us what their predictions are for the world of SMEs in 2035.
1 - There will be 50% fewer SMEs in 2035
By the year 2035, there will be 50% fewer SMEs than there is today. Due to the technological backwardness of SMEs, most of them will cease to be productive, efficient and above all they will lose sales making them unsustainable.
With the arrival and proliferation of the Internet between 1995 and 2000, over the course of 40 years, more than 50% of SMEs stopped having a presence where consumers looked for and requested information. This caused a decline in sales that prevented SMEs from investing in technologies to streamline their processes with the use of Artificial Intelligence in business administration, sales management and customer service.
These tasks continued to be carried out "by hand by humans" which was very costly, made them uncompetitive and caused a lot of mistakes with clients; who decided to look for other alternatives that were less expensive, 100% reliable and with a 24/7 personalized service.
Some other technological solutions that affected other sectors were the lack of meeting rooms with virtual reality, the product shipment with drones, augmented reality assistance "ARA" and remote work.
2- Having an SME will be a thing of the past
Creating or starting an SME will cease to be an interesting business and lifestyle model. Thanks to technology, automation and Artificial Intelligence there will be no entry barriers and differentiators for the vast majority of SMEs.
Previously SMEs were 100% dependent on human resources to grow businesses (salesman, manager, comptroller, assistant, engineer, accountant, driver, boss, etc...); its great differentiator; the qualities, experience and intelligence of the employees are what made the difference. Now, with the arrival of Artificial Intelligence and robots, all SMEs have the same advantages, qualities, service and knowledge.
Price and customer service ceased to be a factor in decision making. With the use of technology, SMEs can adjust their prices autonomously based on competition, supply and demand, external factors such as climate, risk, distance and opportunity.
3- Monopolies and global SMEs
SMEs will compete globally. Most of them will no longer have a geographical advantage. With virtual reality rooms, deliveries by drone and augmented reality assistance "ARA" there will be no difference between hiring a plumber who lives in your same city or one who lives on the other side of the world. You can see and follow the plumber step by step (DIY Style) in augmented reality and do the repairs yourself.
The same thing will happen for hiring consultants, advisers, lawyers, psychologists, etc... You can enter a boardroom, office, or clinic from the comfort of your home no matter where you are and who provides the service.
These technological advances will create global monopolies among SMEs, making it harder to compete.
2035 will be a time where specialization, knowledge and development of skills will be great qualities. Most of us will stop working for companies as employees and rather become service providers and freelancers. We will offer our time to companies and clients as specific contracts. With the arrival of the great revolution of automation and augmented reality, new business opportunities will emerge.
Only time will tell if the predictions of the oracles of Osmos were true.
What do you think the future of SMEs will be for 2035?