Death of the Shop Front
Driving through the streets, I can’t help but notice a lot of empty shops adorned with “For Lease” signs on the windows. In a way I have found myself become desensitised to these bright coloured signs which, to the discerning eye, scream that there is something not quite right here.
So, is small business experiencing an Apocalypse or a Renaissance?
Imagine arriving to play a game in the same arena you’ve always played. However, you quickly realise that the goal posts have now moved, the rules have changed, the ball is not the same ball, the field is grown in size and the spectators are expecting an entirely different game.
And that’s exactly where some small business owners are finding themselves today. In the middle of the field looking like stunned mullets because nothing seems familiar any more.
The small business game has changed.
According to Sydney Morning Herald, the average business owner will be somewhere in the vicinity of 55 years young by 2019.
Nearly Eighty nine percent of the total small businesses in Australia have between 1-4 employees. They are the mums and dads who have pretty much bought themselves a job.
If these mums & dads are not prepared to make a change in order to be ‘in the game’, they’re going to be left behind by the savvier business owners who are prepared to embrace change.
Gone are the days of selling your products & services from a shop front. As a matter of fact, who really wants to have a shop front anyway?
A shop front screams a barrage of expenditure such as rent, electricity, insurance, public liability, and so on and so forth - not to mention loss of valuable time. Time - one commodity nobody can buy no matter how much you are prepared to pay.
But don’t fret. Whilst some may see this as an apocalypse for the small business, the savvy business owners see it as new beginnings and an opportunity to embrace a new way of doing business.
Embracing technology & investing in your learning can indeed work in favour of the mums and dads.
Opening your own online shopfront can come at almost none-to-very-little cost. Your customers no longer are constrained by the city they live in. Played right, the adage: “world is your oyster” is truer than ever.
The way we do business has changed dramatically. I believe for the better.
Instagram is a hidden treasure to those businesses who question its validity.
We have discovered the businesses who have been prepared to “take a chance” on this platform have indeed found that their presence within their communities have reached some kinda “celebrity status” because of the scope and breadth of the platform.
Everyone wants to do business with people they ‘know, like and trust’ – I know it's become a bit of cliché, but it’s true and it works. Instagram is the platform that can do this for you.... let’s be honest, who doesn’t benefit from being a celebrity, right?
So, if you have a business and are concerned where to ‘from here’, and are perhaps twiddling your thumb whether you should throw your money at:
- TV ads (that everyone mutes when watching – that is if they are even watching live TV) or,
- Radio ads (the radios that most of us don’t listen to because we are either listening to a pod cast or our favourite music from Spotify/ iTunes) or,
- The local paper ads (whose readership has dropped, because by the time the news is out, we have already read and heard it all on social media platforms).
I’d say: fret no more! Concentrate your time, energy and finances on your social media channels.
Either learn the platforms yourself and brand your business on Facebook & Instagram and reap the rewards or get a professional to do the job for you.
The world is changing very quickly, and businesses need to be clear as to where they see themselves in two to five years from now.
As for those who are in the process of evolving & have embraced the new economy and are cleverly branding themselves to “stand out in the crowd” they will inherit a prized place on social media platforms & will dominate their industry.
Sooooo, are the empty shops with the ugly signs telling us a story of the future of those of us who are not prepared for the change? Perhaps.
But there is good news...Remember it’s not too late to make the change now. The future of business for those of you who are prepared to embrace the new economy is very bright, and let's say that the ride is going to be simply awesome.
So, are businesses experiencing a period of “Apocalypse” or “Renaissance”? well it depends which side of the fence you’re sitting on.
I am an optimist...so I’d like to say let's raise our glasses to new & exciting beginnings.
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