Post #847 – May 24, 2020

Four Client Industries Needing Attention

I was pleased to have been a member of Futurist Peter Diamandis’s book launch team last November when he was in the process of introducing his latest work, “The Future is Faster Than You Think.”  And talk about fast, Peter’s new book was quickly followed by a global pandemic.  Now no one is more in tune with economic disruption than Peter.  Here are some notes from a recent briefing identifying 4 industries worth your monitoring – especially if you have large clients in any of these:

• The Restaurant Industry

Do you remember the housing bubble in 2008?  Yeah, the restaurant bubble is similar.  For 20 years, this volatile industry has seen unprecedented growth.  Until now.  And even when we fully open the economy, 30–50% of the restaurant industry will disappear.  Think about it — if you remove 65% of a restaurant’s seating and bar to be socially distant, there is no money to be made.

Opportunity: With so many restaurants disappearing, it might be a good time to actually open one.  Seriously.  You can negotiate cheap commercial rent, the labor is available, and you can be flexible with seating capacity (you aren’t going to be married to the old model).

• Brick and Mortar Retail

This industry was already heading towards a catastrophic disruption before the coronavirus.  Many brick and mortar retail stores won’t recover from the losses incurred this spring (and the slow opening of the economy this summer).  American consumers are being trained to buy online-only right now.  All of this is going to be a huge hit for their industry.

Opportunity: This will vastly accelerate the Virtual Reality e-commerce industry — where, for example, a consumer can put on a headset in their home, peruse a “virtual” retail clothing store, and make purchases. Investing in VR companies seems like a great fit right now.

• Commercial Real Estate

If a huge percentage of restaurants and retail stores are disappearing, expect a major disruption to the commercial real estate market.  In addition to the acceleration of shopping online, we are all being trained to work virtually.  When life returns to semi-normality, expect an increase in stay-at-home work.  This will further disrupt the commercial real estate industry.  It’s not going to be pretty.

Opportunity: It’s obvious, but SaaS (software as a service) companies that eliminate the need for an office will continue to explode going forward.  Companies like Slack, Taskworld, Zoom, etc. will speed up this disruption.

• Social Media

Let me be clear, social media isn’t going away, I’m not saying that.  But, I’m reminded of an old saying that applies to the social media economy right now.  Twelve years ago social media “started as a movement, then it became a business, and eventually it turned into a racket.”  A racket where most people have no desire to “connect”.  They only want to show you how great their life is, and control how you perceive their life (which is better than yours) via pictures and video.  Frankly, no one gives a crap about that now.  If you post on social media about how amazing your life is right now, you are tone deaf.  I’m not sure where this downturn will go, but I do know that for the majority of non-substantive “influencers”, they will no longer make money by bragging about their lives.

Opportunity: This is a very positive disruption (in my opinion).  The opportunity is that we can now be more appreciative of our friends, families, and values.  We can focus on using social media to connect and help others, build trust, and provide safety.  Positioning your brand via social media, on those 3 factors, will sell more products or services in this new economy.

Convergence, disruption, and opportunity.  These are the 3 factors I’m seeing in the economy right now.  Don’t be scared of it — lean in, build something great, and serve others with purpose.

 
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