I highlighted five characteristics of the Virtual Corporation in my 1994 workshop (since delivered virtually and “live”; to organizations close to home as well as those thousands of miles away) . These points turn out to be remarkably similar to the traits Boomers must adopt for a successful transition to a new, independent, entrepreneurial professional life in the 21st century:
This list, from 1994, is congruent to the nine points in this article. How can Boomers translate these principles into some strategies for career transition?
We can refuse to believe the strength of a business is related to its size. Downsizing, outsourcing and telecommuting have made many corporations become virtual, in that they may not do their own production, marketing, information processing, distribution, or any number of formerly “required” in-house functions. Boomer entrepreneurs can use these principles in their own small, nimble businesses. As we pointed out above, “Boomers may lose their jobs, but not their experience and wisdom.” The business strategy here is to sell back that experience and wisdom to the companies that need it—or create products and services based on Boomer expertise and insight.
Consumers of goods and services are now able to make their choices from a global menu, choosing that which most perfectly suits them instead of having to opt for choices that are nearby and convenient. It becomes tougher every day to make an impact on this market. Businesses and individuals want to buy from a provider that understands them and appears to target them specifically. Think “Specialty” and think “Niche”. A niche is like a market segment, e.g certain types of businesses or clients or customers. Your specialty is a set of skills or proficiencies that can be used across many niches–WHAT you’re good at doing or making or teaching or selling. A niche is WHO you’re focusing on. The combination sets you apart from the rest. Some more tips:
• Be consistent in your messages; craft your own identity.
• Increase your own “alliance-ability” and learn to recognize the potential of a good alliance partner.
• Invent your own sub-niche; create your unique area of specialty.
• Communicate continuously and creatively with your target market.
• Provide real value; continue to add value.
• Employ technology to gain exposure.
• Above all, choose niches and specialties that you enjoy.