As the Client Services Manager at a technology based business incubator I have the opportunity to watch trends in the startup world first hand. One trend that has been very interesting over the past 6 months is that traditional bricks and mortar businesses are going mobile. When I say, “going mobile” I am not talking about building mobile apps, instead; they are abandoning the traditional bricks and mortar building for a mobile office, store front, or restaurant. Here are 3 examples:
- Mobile IT Company – This company provides IT services but rather than renting an office they purchased an RV and put that office rent toward a loan to buy an RV. The RV acts as an office with all the tools and equipment needed to fix anything. This reduces risk because he can find customers anywhere. If he starts the business in Chicago and it doesn’t work out he can simply move to another city where there is less competition.
- Mobile Boutique – This is a very interesting company that purchased an old FedEx truck, painted it and turned it into a mobile boutique. The business model is similar to companies like Mary Kay, where she actually drives her mobile boutique with all the latest in fashion to host homes. Other women will host and promote the party in exchange for store credit that they can use to purchase a new item. The business model reduces risk because the business doesn’t require nearly as much overhead costs as a traditional bricks and mortar store.
- Mobile Food – There are a large number of food trucks in major cities around the world, and they are starting to come to smaller cities as well. The advantages are simple, you can drive where customers are, you don’t have to pay higher rent prices for the most trafficked areas, and overhead costs are much lower for a truck than a full blown restaurant.
All three businesses are taking advantage of mobile to transform an old model of doing business, into a lean, highly profitable business. How can you take advantage of mobile to transform your business model?