And here we have it.... drum roll please... the final part of our changing rules of business feature.
3. Access to Markets
The world is connected more than ever before and it's not slowing up. The good news is that connected people also means connected customers! When interviewing Jane Cay she said when she started her online shop to add to her physical store in 2009 her accountant humoured her when she said it should have its own balance sheet telling her that online shopping for clothing won't take off. Fast forward to 2017 and Jane and her team of Birds in rural town of Cooma are shipping over 500 parcels per day!
Connected with a click
There are currently over 3.7 billion internet users in the world. 40% of the world has an internet connection, in 1995 it was 1%! (www.internetlivestats.com)
And what we know about those users is also staggering. Facebook’s ability to target users based on their data usage and personal profiles is a layer of direct marketing that we have never been able to access before. So no matter what you niche you can find your tribe and a home for your product. Today an average home in Australia will have 13.7 connected devices inside its four walls! This is set to grow to over 30 by 2021. We want to be able to solve out questions with a quick Google search, secure that coveted product from under our bed covers, and have real time directions spoken to us to get us where we need to go.
So whatever you have got - the internet will find it’s home. Your customers are suddenly not just a 60km radius of your towns main street. Everyone operates in a global market now.
Local is a firm trend that’s not leaving us anytime soon. The rise of Farmers Markets, branded produce, handmade marketplaces such as Etsy are all banking on the trend that the general public as a consumer are keenly interested in the origins of what they are consuming. They are also keen to find something that is unique to them. We love nothing more to tell the story behind our shoes when we are complimented on them, tell the story of how we discovered the wine and all about meeting the winemaker over dinner. It helps us stand out from the crowd and show how highly evolved we are with our conscious thinking and consumption (tongue firmly in cheek!).
This is where we really hit our strong suit. Local storytelling! Letting consumers see the family behind the carton of milk and get a glimpse inside the creative process of their latest art purchase. It connects us, it gives meaning. We have wonderful stories to tell and the benefits of doing this well reach beyond the realms of good business.
Storytelling is a fine art and there are many ways you can perfect your business story but if you haven't thought about your story and how that’s communicated you could be sitting on a quick fix you can implement to make a difference in your business today.
This is the missing piece of the puzzle. Access to markets in a physical sense is critical for efficiencies and realising new markets. There are many infrastructure projects to get excited about such as the Inland Rail. The Outback Way, Developing the North, Queensland’s Data Park in Toowoomba, and a surge in government interest in these projects is a positive step. But don’t think government is the only one that can deliver these projects to change your market access. The largest infrastructure project in recent times was built with private money. The Toowoomba/Wellcamp Airport is an incredible act of foresight and investment in our regions.
There is so much more to celebrate about our rural and regional communities and the business opportunity that is opening up. This is merely the tip of the iceberg. It's exciting times and I’d love to hear of your experience. What are you doing in business from a rural and regional area that 10 or even five years ago you didn't think was possible?