Today’s virtual business operators love at least four things about running a virtual business:
- The ability to start a business with a small pool of initial capital invested. This is at least one of the reasons traditional venture capital is dead. The money needed to get a great product to scale these days is much less than it was 20, 10 or even 5 years ago, especially thanks to the cloud. We service thousands upon thousands of screens every day and we’re one of the small players on Amazon’s Cloud.
- The ability to run a business from any location. Remote management and control is an automation piece that makes the virtual business model a reality. Scaling it out with shared cloud resources is really the main way this is made possible.
- The ability to reach large scale easily and quickly. It doesn’t take much to reach rapid scale with the right model. If you combine the rapid penetration through immediate advertising and the scalability of solutions provided by the cloud, the possibilities are endless.
- They like to perform service calls as infrequently as possible on the large customer base for which they have acquired. Service calls will certainly be needed and it’s part of the GSLA or MSLA most companies require and pay for in “maintenance and support,” but the frequency it’s needed relative to the scale of customers you’re able to reach is magnitudes less than what it was 10 years ago.
As I look at the various business models I’m presented with on a regular basis from would-be company operators, I’m often impressed by some of those who’ve been successful in this market. There are some real scrappers out there getting things done. Those that are the most successful in this marking–in my mind–are the ones who’ve created a real lifestyle business for themselves. They’ve been able to get a scaled number of screens installed, usually in a very specific industry niche (e.g. service station, restaurant, etc.) and have charged reasonable rates, but have taken advantage of how technology truly changes the way things are done.
Similar to, but not unlike the sign companies of yesteryear, digital signage operators today make recurring revenue from the “service” side of the business. But unlike yesteryear, they’re not having to actually print, and reprint, install and re-install. Instead, they’re able to remotely manage and simply charge a typical software-as-a-service fee. It’s a brilliant model that removes the service calls (not completely, but mostly) for only the times when things really hit the fan and you get a box that may have gone completely dead. But luckily those are more rare.
Creating Virtual Businesses
Our jobless recovery has been unfortunate for many and is partly a result of increased automation evident in these types of virtual business models. While such models help those who’re able to leverage technology, there are those who’re unfortunately the collateral damage of a systemic issue. Those who were able to anticipate things had at least luck on their side. Those with the ability to execute, find customers and make installations have truly seen the power of leveraging digital signage as a great virtual business model. Like I tell people everyday, we have some Enterprise Accounts with literally hundreds of individual players hosted and they’re still only paying $99/month. What do they charge the end users? We don’t know. We don’t care, but we know they’re successful in their given niche and have truly found a way to leverage the cloud for creating a perfect virtual digital signage business model. We don’t just power end users, we love to provide the tools that allow small business owners to build and grow their own companies.
Do you have a model in digital signage that has worked better than others? Share here. I’m sure we have readers who would like to know.