Modern Business rising from the ashes of Traditional Businesses
Mar 03, 2020
The types of businesses operating today have changed significantly from the traditional businesses we all know.
You know the ones; the ones with a bricks and mortar presence, whether it's a shop, a workshop, a factory unit or an office. Businesses traditionally were location specific and served the local community. Their incomes are directly linked to the size of the community around them and those who pass through or come for holidays.
In Australia, those traditional businesses in areas impacted by bushfires have been badly impacted. There are those whose businesses were engulfed in flames losing everything. There are others where the business premises were saved from the flames, but the community around them is in crisis. Holidaymakers were ordered to stay away or go home.
The livelihoods of these business owners has been damaged beyond belief.
Small business is a term that has multiple definitions depending on the context in which it is used. Whilst it is all-encompassing, I believe that it doesn't allow for visibility of a new breed of businesses and business owners; those who are running a modern business.
A modern business is one which potentially didn't exist 5 years ago; in fact it probably couldn't have existed 5 years ago. It has a focus beyond local, likely national and towards international. The modern business has a global attitude, international audience and often utilises a team distributed across the world. It has the ability to rapidly scale with the constraints of traditional tethered infrastructure.
Personally, modern business owners are continually looking for their edge. they feel a need to be challenged and want to make a difference. They are often driven by the desire to fix a problem or fulfil a purpose.
Transitioning to a modern business is often an aspiration for many traditional small business owners. It is also seen as an alternative for corporate employees who have identified an unfulfilled need in their technical space.
Modern businesses are agile, they have the ability to make a decision in a heartbeat and change direction; take up an opportunity or learn something new. Their owners are not risk averse, are problem solvers and tech savvy.
Most are change makers, who have a global mindset, and are aspirational and want to "change the world". They are voracious readers and learners who don't think twice about working with a global team. When in the early phases of a modern business, they may be serving the local community but with a vision to expand nationally and internationally.
I call Modern business owners Thrivers. They thrive on a challenge, they thrive on learning and they will thrive financially into the future.
On the other hand, there are the traditional business owners; those who are tethered to a specific location or locations with a bricks and mortar presence. Due to their location-specific market; there is a lack of scalability and a defined limit to their income.
With limited income, the owner has effectively bought themselves a job, often paying less than if they were working for someone else. They are tied to being at the business during opening hours and lack any flexibility.
Working long hours, they have little or no time to learn and in many cases, can't see any solution to their challenges or any possibility of doing business in a different way with success.
Traditional small business owners are Survivors; they survive from one day to the next, often without planning, with no light at the end of the tunnel for a different future.
Then there are those people who are employed in corporate roles; dreaming of a different life. They are stuck in legacy systems and processes, constrained by process and policy and controlled by the corporate structure.
In their roles, they are risk-free knowing they will get paid each payday. Their ability to use technology is dictated to them and often siloed with no policy for change.
These people are Existors; existing from pay day to pay day, turning up to a job they don't enjoy. They spend their working days looking forward to the weekends and holidays when they are free to be themselves.
Many Existors become corporate escapees, shaking off the shackles that bound them to a life of monotony. Seeing an opportunity that no one else is serving or just simply taking a leap of faith that they can create a Modern business for themselves based on their passion to make a difference.
In the past corporate escapees often bought into traditional businesses effectively going from one job to another. They then find the business consuming more of their time rather than giving them the freedom they had sought.
With the ever-changing way we do business, the demise of retail, the increase in online shopping and services, Modern businesses that fulfil these needs are the ones which will thrive into the future.