Anyone who works in the fields of marketing or technology will have come across the term ‘Early Adopter’ at some point in their career. An early adopter is someone who seizes on a new idea or gadget, hell bent on being the first person or company to present it to their customers. On a personal level, early adopters can be those people who queue up outside the flagship Apple store for the latest iPad or phone, or hover nervously around online auctions desperate to get their hands on the latest games console or model of car.
Early adopters are a blessing for everyone else out there. They seize on the newest model of gadget or latest trend in the ideas market, and religiously review their new find with the enthusiasm of a kid at Christmas. Because of these fabulous people, the more cautious among us can sit back and wait, watching the reviews come in, before making a decision about what we want to purchase, or the ideas we want to take on board for our business.
There is something fantastic about being one of the first in line to try a new concept or piece of technology. You get to talk about it to your colleagues and customers, add your voice to the review blogosphere, and try out all the features of the new concept before they are made widely available.
However, in business, early adoption is not the best idea. Admittedly, a new concept can be a real draw for your customers, when they see you are right at the forefront of your game. Bit what happens when you begin to use a new idea or piece of software, only to realize it is in Beta stage and is so full of glitches it can’t function properly? This is the downside of taking on new ideas too quickly – you are effectively being used as a guinea pig, testing out the idea or gadget for the manufacturer or inventor, without giving it a chance to bed down and be refined.
In business, one of the best things you can do is sit still and watch the market, as the story of your new concept or gadget unfolds. Think of the glitches people found with the iPhone, which wouldn’t ever get a good reception at first unless it was held in a certain way, or the uproar that accompanies each new release of Microsoft software, as people see that the product is riddled with flaws that make us susceptible to hackers and viruses.
As business owners, we have a responsibility to ‘look before we leap’ – this means keeping a very close eye on new developments, but being wary before we jump in and purchase them for ourselves and our customers. The next time you are tempted to spend a few hundred dollars on the latest trend to sweep the market, sit back a while and let other people find all the flaws for you!