See You Online

April 15, 2020

Have you attended any virtual events yet? A few months ago you probably didn't think you'd ever participate in a virtual event; you likely didn't even see a purpose to them. Fast forward to social distancing and canceled gatherings and the (seeming) end of social life, and you might be begging to attend ANYTHING…even through a screen. 

What might have once seemed silly is now the only thing connecting us to the outside world. 

Even companies best-known for in-person experiences like Airbnb are now offering online options. Customers can surf unconventional events and activities—all from the comfort of their own couch. Unique online activities include meditation with Buddhist monks in Japan, salsa-making classes in Mexico, and even virtual tours of historical sites the world over. While it might seem absurd at first, this is a great way to seek new adventure and entertainment without having to leave home. These online experiences are giving users access to the globe within seconds, and they aren't likely to go away, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is a distant memory.

Using tools like Zoom is anything but new; however, using it for entertainment is pretty novel. There are all kinds of businesses leveraging the use of Zoom to offer virtual events! For example, if you attend a regular monthly event for your local business chapter, you can still interact with all those in attendance--all while skipping the drive. Not having to travel great distances to participate in activities opens up time slots on everyone's schedule to enjoy even more virtual events. It isn't just adults who are in dire need of entertainment either—even my son's school is holding virtual field trips for the kids. Next week, they’re visiting the Solid Waste Authority. 

The curious thing is that this technology isn't new—the capability has always been there—but relatively few people were using it as such. You've likely seen more practical uses for Zoom, such as business meetings, classroom instruction, and even real estate open houses. But now that we are forced to use it, the world is changing before our very eyes…and screens. I don't see Airbnb halting their online experiences any time soon, as these new capabilities will augment their existing business, and provide a new stream of income.  

Think about it; individuals who had never used Zoom before have adapted. As a result, they are now fully versed in its use. When I first learned that I was now responsible for teaching my two children at home using virtual school, I thought I would never be able to manage. There is an overwhelming number of applications that children can access online, and I had very little knowledge about them, but I quickly became an expert! What I thought was impossible, is now not only possible but extremely practical and useful. I am confident I am not the only one.

What does this mean for the future of business? If you assume that after the virus is long gone, everyone will forget these new tools and conveniences, you'd be wrong. After experiencing the complete ease of managing all activities from one place, it is unlikely that people will want to spend the extra time needed to be physically present unless it is essential.  

These will include Zoom consultations, virtual open houses, online experiences, Zoom meetings,  curbside pick up, a heavy focus on digital media, and more. 

What does that mean for your business? It means transitioning to offer the most significant level of services online, and it means competing with your competitors based on convenience. If you haven’t totally shifted to the online sphere, prepare to be left behind as the world moves more drastically toward the virtual world. 

If you are unsure where to start, my team and I are here to help! We'd be happy to set up an online consultation to discuss your business and how it can move forward in the post-Coronavirus world.

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