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How Will You Recover from a Lack of New Business in the Future?

When trying to decide where I’m going to meet a prospective client, they often ask me where do I work. On more than one occasion, I have had to tell them, that my office is a laptop.

It’s rare, that I have a need to rent out office space because my clients either like for me to work on site or I work with them remotely all over the country. Dropbox, GMail, Skype and Adobe Reader are my best friends.

So how are you going to find new business in a world that appears to be getting more and more crowded with each passing day?

Even the demand for commercial space here in New York City {the real estate mecca of the world} has dropped dramatically. You simply don’t need the square footage that one needed say 10 or 15 years ago to house staff and equipment.

I personally think the current “co-work space” movement we’re seeing everywhere today, really started with the rise of “casual friday”.

I was a recent college graduate when offices across the country were debating if it was appropriate for a woman to wear sandals to work without pantyhose and if young men should ditch their tropical wool suits in the summer for a nice button down shirt & khakis. Some of you may remember this in the late 90s – yes the 1990s.

It’s seems so far away and yet we now have millionaires typing to their hearts content in Starbucks or on a beach somewhere. There’s even a name for it – “lifestyle design” {don’t ask me to explain – just Google it}.

Having said that, I have to admit that this week’s featured post may require a little well – imagination. William Davidow and Michael Moalone give us some food for thought in their post, “How New Technologies Push Us Toward the Past”, for the Harvard Business Review.

In short, they contend that while yes – the country needs to focus on rebuilding it’s infrastructure, it shouldn’t be for more parking at the mall.

Instead, they feel that America needs to ready itself, for the foreboding tidal wave of consumer consumption working its way to the web. They argue that we’ll be buying, learning and working more and more from home in the years to come.

That construction will see a great boom, but not so much in the building of new office space, as so much as in the need to provide a big enough {and modern enough} grid to accommodate the amount of bandwidth all of us will demand and need.

They also remind us that this will lead to us rethinking everything from building codes to public transportation.

The stats they include in this post are sobering and compelling. For example, the average office worker makes $28,000/year and spends $3,000 of that on commuting and loses just as much in “opportunity costs” because of it.

The average cost of just maintaing a typical office space in this country is $5,000 year on its own. So what does this have to do with you the small business owner? Plenty.

Sylvia Adams Websites for Small Business Owners Featured Post

I don’t want to this sound like a scare tactic, but you have to look at the big picture here. If you’re planning on being in business in the next 5 to 10 years, I would highly suggest that you start establishing your online presence today.

It takes time {like a few years} to really build a foundation that you can work {and profit from} online. We’re living and working in a global marketplace whether we like or not and if you struggle or ignore the need to integrate the web into your business – you will feel it.

You may not feel it in the beginning – but take a look around. Are you closing as much business as you used to in person? Have you seen a rise or fall in foot traffic? Are your old referral sources offline as reliable and predictable as they use to be? Do you really need to operate a large brick and mortar store? Should you sign that 10 year lease or opt for 5?

Conclusion
If you answered no or you’re not sure – I’ll bet you’re losing market share. Why? Because your competitors are getting in front of your prospects & customers first and more frequently than you. It’s that simple.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in the same boat as you are, if I stop marketing my business, someone else is going to design your website and it may very well be someone from another state or country even. Forget about the big boys in your industry – you have enough to worry about with your own direct competitors.

Question: What new strategies have you implemented in the last 6 months to generate new business? Share your questions and comments below.

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