When you don't need a storefront
I enjoyed reading a Business Journal article recently about an awesome business called LuxureLister, created by K.C. Wenger and based in Lemoyne.
The company consigns upscale clothing and accessories and resells them using the Internet to reach a global audience.
One comment in the article that struck me was that Wenger did not express any interest in setting up a bricks and mortar storefront any time soon. I stopped for a moment to think about that, and then had to agree. There is a growing movement in business to provide services across states and nations, independent of the need to be tied to a permanent address – the overhead isn’t worth it.
Folks have long started businesses in their garage or basement, and the market for cramped/dated commercial space is propped up by the budget-conscious entrepreneurs looking for a cheap business address.
I have talked in the past about the business owner’s need to flex up and down as their venture grows … or not. I have also brought in the idea of using the cloud in this space in the past. Doing business via the Web (including cloud) is fast replacing servers, files and display shelving around the world.
In the real estate industry itself, we see this phenomena manifesting itself as progressive-thinking brokers back away from large offices packed with cubicles to a more relaxed office layout and reliance on cloud-based resources for all an agent’s needs. Today at our company, for example, we’re putting more emphasis on conversation centers and informal meeting spaces in our offices. Virtually every software or process need an agent has is now cloud-based; agents don’t need to come in to work, but they want to for the interactions and learning that takes place.
This is true for more and more businesses in the service industries.
So what are the ramifications for the bricks and the mortar? I think we’ll see more interest in small, flexible spaces with good access to shipping modalities (from truck pickups to rail). That means that it may make more sense than ever for owners of large, dusty commercial and retail spaces to look at reinventing them as mini-parks with a dozen businesses housed inside.
As LuxureLister already knows, the world can be our oyster – with minimal overhead, if you choose.