How the Global Pandemic has broken some traditional business boundaries and minimized the limits of geography.
Virtually doing business has exploded since the start of the global pandemic. While global business began with the internet and increased digital connectivity, the current crisis as thrust many businesses into a brave new virtual world. Geographic boundaries which defined your business, and where you house employees have been for many organizations been erased. Historical limits of a business’s location have in just a few weeks been blurred.
As businesses had to pivot employees to tele-work options and have enhanced their online presences, the limitations of location are no longer holding owners back from growth. In this new normal business environment innovation and opportunity is as prevalent safety restrictions. Recently Chuck Swoboda, who writes for Forbes.com shared that… “This crisis will no doubt cause many difficulties for people, but it will also create opportunities for innovation across many industries. This is time for people to take more risks, focus on what really matters, and embrace the opportunity to lead” (Forbes.com, 2020).
Swoboda also says that this crisis has brought more businesses owners to a new level of focus, has identified leaders and has tipped risk/reward scale. Not only are business owners facing new challenges, they are also shedding many behaviors that lead them to be risk adverse because “A crisis helps people realize that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain” (Forbes.com, 2020)
With this new found freedom, business owners also are stretching the limits of where they do business. New markets are now more open and the opportunity to expand a business’ reach has never been more fluid.
Consider a local restaurant’s possible reinvention. Closed at the onset of the lock down and restaurateurs are faced with many tangible obstacles and challenges to overcome before they can serve customers in the ways they did before the pandemic. Brick and mortar eateries who have added delivery or curbside options may have found a way to stem the tide, but those that rethought their business more radically are set to be even more successful. Some have changing menu offerings including quick serve options, heat & eat meals, and family style portions and even created a more robust digital menus that allows customers to have more choices have used the crisis to evolve. Further digitizing their menus and creating cooking demos, video tastings and wine parings, and hosting virtual happy hours have expanded their constraints of the 4-walls of their place of business. Now a neighborhood hangout has become a community wide player in the marketplace.
Without the restrictions of location-based business models, entrepreneurs can reach new customers, do business with new suppliers and bring talent to bare from anywhere to improve their business and serve their customers. The speed at which virtual working has happened and have been adopted has unshackled those that can see the opportunity.
So, what do you need to be successful in a new border-less business? Consider these critical steps;
- Robust web presence; upgrade and refresh your website and your company social media channels.
- Be present on social media in a bigger and more vocal way. Expand your strategy to include Instagram and Facebook Stories, Tik Tok and any other platform you may have overlooked in the past.
- Create new content. Be innovative. Try offering virtual tours, digital menus, video demonstrations and add a blog/vlog offering tips, checklist, fun facts.
- Consider adding VR (virtual reality) to your toolkit for your customers and your employees
“While business organizations may not quite be able to capture the “thrill” of the motion ride — nor in most cases would they want to — they can still use branded virtual environments to create deep engagement and interaction with customers, prospects and employees in a way that ordinary Web sites or group sharing technologies can’t” (Vidal,2011).
Virtual Reality and virtual environments can foster more creativity and give your customers and employees new ways to interact. Product launches, trade shows and entering new markets with full language translations can open a world of possibilities.
While this shift none geography-based business models may have been sped up by the onset of the global COVID 19 crisis, it is now a real option for many business owners who may have been bound by the limits of their location. It is critical that vision and innovation be embraced no matter how inconvenient it might first be. So, rock your business world and begin to imagine what the possibilities are if you are no longer tethered to one place in one location. As legendary rock icon David Bowie said, “Tomorrow belongs to those that hear it coming.” Turn up the volume and listen carefully.
Brad Sugars, the CEO and founder of ActionCOACH also explored this topic in a recent DriveTime Facebook video.