On purchasing a subscription to a stock trading newsletter recently I was offered entry to their discount online brokerage. I couldn't help but laugh. "How on earth do you guys make money out of that?" I blurted out.
Stock broking used to be a highly lucrative profession. One where a licensed somebody could act as a go between for investors and the stock market. And, as it was scarce, they charged a heap for it also. (Of course)
Today, there are any number of discount brokerage sites online. Many, (most?) people actually take command of their own share portfolios and only use "professionals" as advisors and mentors.
Brokerage was scarce, today it is a commodity.
And so it goes...we see the same impact happening in many other industry sectors such as travel agents, being replaced by online booking sites for travel and hotels.
The newspaper industry was the attention broker in a range of areas. Classified ads, job ads, real estate postings and car sales.
Today, in Australia, we have Seek.com.au, RealEstate.com.au, CarSales.com.au and like everyone else, we also have Craig's List. A very expensive intermediary between us (the people) and these industries just got a lot cheaper and accessible.
Replacing the middleman with lower priced, more accessible and often more functional options is one of the enormous opportunities created by the Internet, and one that not enough of us are taking advantage of.
How can you cut out the mid step between your clients and the performance improvement they desire?
Have you seen Google Maps real estate search? (I think that all the real estate listing sites in the world just got put out of business.)
Or the way Simply Hired and Indeed are able to aggregate every job posting on the web no matter where it is posted. (Looks like the worlds big name job boards are also going out of business)
Can you automate the listings between all the grocery shops within your town / postcode and show which are cheaper? Could you use Force.com to build a package that would be cheaper and more accessible than the market leaders in your niche?
The role for the middle man isn't shrinking, it is just able to be done by far more people, far more effectively, and far cheaper. What can you do?
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