Earlier this year, I shared a theory: that in 2020 and beyond, the challenges we face as business owners and investors will be much bigger than we can really imagine. You might already be feeling this way. Yet before you write this off, hear me out. The flip side to what appears to be a negative outlook, is that bigger challenges mean that there will be bigger opportunities.
In fact, there are a ton of examples already. Brick and mortar businesses are the best examples, because they’ve managed to make huge pivots by taking their businesses online. In some cases, the results have been extremely unconventional and creative, and yielded big results.
Advantages to Going Digital
One of the biggest advantages to going digital is that you can likely conduct your business more cost-effectively. Your overhead will decrease without the physical space, and you have greater opportunities for scale.
Secondly, you’re removing geography from the equation. What I mean is, you no longer have to be in a specific location to offer your products or services. If you provide a service, face-to-face meetings can be a thing of the past. Which means you can expand your reach well beyond your city or state. And if you were selling products locally, you can now ship your products and build a national or global customer base.
Prior to a digital transition, you’re likely only bringing in clients or customers who lived within a certain physical distance. Your most frequent traffic will be the people within ten minutes of you. Some might be willing to drive 30 minutes, or even an hour, but they’ll be less frequent. Moving online gives you a global reach.
In 2020, we’ve seen many business owners have to shut down their stores because of COVID-19. And suddenly, their ability to provide their service was eliminated. Yet in reality, the online shift gives you even greater flexibility.
Real World Examples of Online Innovation
Let’s use Amazon, a well-known entity, as an example. It got its start ahead of the curve, as an online bookstore. Prior to Amazon, we had always thought of bookstores as physical locations, that you’d enter and leisurely browse. It also meant the following:
- Limited space
- Geographical constraints
- More selective inventory
So Amazon goes online, connects with independent book sellers, and suddenly there’s access to any book you want from virtually anywhere in the world. There are no inventory limits or selectivity. And the customer base is global. Now, Amazon is a behemoth.
Netflix did the same for the film and television industry, and look what happened to Blockbuster. Video stores used to be in every town, and you could go and physically rent movies on VHS and DVD. Now they’re a dying breed. When Netflix first started, you could have your movies mailed right to your home, wherever you lived. All you had to do was put it in the envelope and mail it back. Now, they’ve all but created the streaming industry—and the ability to watch what you want, when you want it, on any device you want to. It’s portable and accessible.
This also changed the film industry. Going out to the movies is still enjoyed by many, but now Netflix and other streaming platforms are producing their own movies. You don’t have to travel somewhere for the premier, you just open the app. Some movies still grace the silver screen, of course, but in the midst of COVID-19, movie theatres have been shut down. In response, look at what Disney+ did. They tested the waters to see if people would pay for Mulan on demand, in addition to their subscription.
The core lesson in all this is to take a look at your business and your industry. Ask yourself not only what the biggest challenges are, but what opportunities arise from those challenges. Whatever seems like a massive hurdle now, could be the opportunity of a lifetime. Think restaurants and the food service industry—there are major challenges those industries are facing. Will you be the one to find a solution?
Is there a way to create an Amazon-scale solution to this? I’m just spit-balling here—what about an unlimited menu that someone pre-cooks or cooks and delivers to your doorstep? We’re seeing that on a small scale, but there’s massive opportunity there. If a company can master the art of logistics, like Amazon did for bookstores, that could be huge.
Dan Sullivan says that the challenges you face are the raw materials for the solution that you could come up with and design. And Strategic Coach exemplifies that well—they used to do quarterly workshops in person, and now they’ve moved their business model online. They’ve completely restructured, and they’re seeing exponential growth.
So what challenges are you going to overcome?
You can listen to my new podcast, Cashflow Investing Secrets here.
Live your Freedom, Live Your Legacy, On Your Own Terms,
M.C. Laubscher is a husband, dad, podcaster & Cashflow Specialist. He helps business owners and investors create, recover, warehouse & multiply cashflow. You can learn more about exclusive cash flow strategies in M.C.’s new video series at https://www.yourownbankingsystem.com/
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