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It’s a common item of debate. Is it harder to succeed today than in the past?

It’s hard to compare apples to apples with different technology and different ages of our society. But I do personally believe in many ways it’s harder to succeed than ever before.

In this piece I’m going to explore why I think it is harder to succeed today than in the past. But I’m also going to open the doors to thinking bigger. And thinking about how we can handle these difficult points to actually succeed for our futures.

We can’t control the age we live in. But we can control how we make the best of it.

1. There is No Map

First and foremost there is no map to success in modern times. There was a day in time when you could just do certain things and you would almost be guaranteed success. Get the right education, then obtained the right job and that would guarantee you a certain level of income and world opportunities.

In more and more fields, whether it be legal, medical, programming or a host of other professions, no longer is that the case.

At the same time the business world is changing. Technology is coming along quickly. In many cases what was working 10 years ago doesn’t work today.

All of this leads to the fact that there is no map to success. That means we each have to find our own way to get where we’re going. And it’s this lack of a map or direction to success makes it more difficult for us to succeed in this new world.

What does lack of a map mean for the possibility of success and growth? Because if we can find a way to be successful we will be ahead of our competition. The fact that everybody doesn’t have a map means that those that are tenacious enough to find something unique and different will grow.

Not having a map can be an excuse, or it could mean a world of opportunity.

2. Regulation

Add to the fact that there is no map that there’s more regulation than ever. More and more there’s some new law designed to protect someone that makes it more difficult for the business owner to find their way.

This adds complexity to operations. Everybody must be dodging all the different laws and rules that change our business models. And let’s be honest, many of our competitors aren’t complying with those regulations. Which makes those of us that work hard to try to be on the right side of the law even more frustrated.

We can be upset about this. We can throw our hands up and say it’s impossible to start a business because of all the regulations. Or we can look at those around us that are being successful and say there must be a way.

So for those of us that want to take the positive side and still grow in this world we live in, we can view the regulations as an opportunity. They’ll keep out some competition. Also those of us that are smart enough to find her way to the regulations will be able to do more and possibly succeed where others give up.

3. Infrastructure

One of the great things about today in our business world is it there so much infrastructure available to be purchased on demand. There was a time where to build a business you had to acquire a lot of infrastructure. You might need a physical space, a server for your computers and to accumulate a lot of physical or customized assets.

In today’s day and age we can purchase so much of what we need on demand. There’s so many online software vendors and others that provide these pieces of critical infrastructure that we need for our business.

However this infrastructure also provides a challenge. The challenge is that we need to accumulate all of this infrastructure in the right order. More and more there is a high-cost in just knowing what to use where. It’s complex.

Additionally while everything may be able to be purchased on demand, most of today’s infrastructure and software solutions to support our businesses are licensed on a monthly or yearly basis. To our business is bottom line this means ongoing expenses. Expenses to be managed and a different type of overhead for our businesses.

For many businesses multiple software solutions from many vendors are needed. And to add to the difficulty sometimes we need to buy software to integrate software with other software. Building the right “tech stack” can be mind-blowing.

We can either complain about this infrastructure or we can talk about the blessing of the fact that we don’t have to build it all from scratch. The truth is we are in the world we are in. I do believe in the end although this infrastructure can get expensive and difficult to manage it does make it easier to focus on your core business.

4. The Noise

We’re living in a noisy business world. Especially with all the online Solutions and things going on there’s a lot of people making a lot of noise. Much of that noise is low-quality or distracting. But regardless annoys is there.

And for those of us with quality products and offering we often feel frustrated that other people are making so much noise and make it hard for us to be heard.

And this is definitely a real challenge of the modern Market. Having to find solutions that can raise us up above the noise.

The good news is for those that seem to get above the noise great opportunities arise those people can grow their business and use the fact that they are vetted to be above the noise to build a following and a reach.

So we can complain about the noise around us, or we can use it to our advantage. We want to keep a Positano things and make the best of the situation over in the right answer is for us to use the fact that the noises there what’s an opportunity to leverage and grow. Let’s get about the noise.

5. Culture Changes

Our culture is changing and changing quickly. It seems like all the communications and dynamics that are going on are bringing us into a world where things change constantly.

It’s hard to establish a business and stay stable in the modern era because you may produce a product or service for which the demand changes. For instance, we had Christy Refearn, a veteran business owner in the cleaning space, on The Future Done Right™ Show and she talked about how radically the cleaning industry is changing. Her and her leadership team have to think about automation and the implementation of technology in what has, to date, then a largely labor intensive business.

And it’s not just cleaning. It’s automotive, programming, leisure and countless other industries that are changing. The changing and shifting of our culture with new technology and new social norms makes it very hard to establish a business and keep it stable for long periods of time.

On the flipside, this change and automation means that we potentially could capitalize on new opportunities as they emerge and serve new markets that never existed before.

6. Competition

Competition today seems harder than ever. The free flow of information ideas todays means that if you capture a good idea often another competitor will pop up. Not to mention lots of people are being displaced from traditional jobs and forming new businesses while existing businesses are looking for new markets and opportunities.

All of this mixes together to mean that there’s a lot of competition for the sales revenue and the opportunities in the market. So it’s very challenging at this time to develop a new business and grow.

However, all of this competition means if you can get on top of the pile you can command a large market share. We often see business has become the best and take a dominant portion of the market for their products and services. There is great opportunity if we can win the competition to be the best.

7. Change

Another big challenge these days is change. Many report that when they are getting their business going the right way something changes or shifts. Then you have to change your thinking. This makes it challenging.

There was a day and time where you could get a great idea and make money off of it for decades. For most industries those days are gone. For most people you’re going to have to change and shift – regularly.

Businesses have to put in resources into changes and be ready for them.

While this may seem difficult, the businesses that embrace change and adjust to change can capitalize on this opportunity. It’s a great chance to get ahead of the curve because every time of change comes there’s a new opportunity to take a leadership position.


As the old quote goes, “it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.” And the same goes for today. A lot of this depends on how you look at things. Yes, it’s hard to compete today. Yes, it’s difficult to be a business today. But, there’s a lot of opportunity.

Yes, we’re in a world of opportunity. Yes, we can build businesses succeed. Yes, we can become leaders of our markets.

Do you really want to make plans that work?

If you really want to get deep into making great business plans, make sure you get my FREE guide “Planning In Light of A Changing Future” by clicking here.


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  • The Our Shawn McBride

    Making Plans for the Future Economy

    The Our Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer of McBride For Business, LLC, the Managing Member of The R. Shawn McBride Law Firm, PLLC and the host of the Financial Transactions of the Future Economy™ Show on the McBride For Business YouTube Channel. He works with organizations to develop their plans to capitalize on the future economy. He is the author of Business Blunders on avoiding common business mistakes, It’s About Time on Time Magicment™ and What Your Business Needs to Know NOW about Blockchain. When you see The Our Shawn in person you’ll know him in a second - he is normally wearing unusual suits the embrace the message of Do Business Differently™ because he believes finding your uniqueness is a key to business success. When not writing you’ll find Shawn speaking and consulting on topics related to Financial Transactions of the Future Economy™.