August 21st, 2019

Business Beat: The gig economy

By Medicine Hat News on March 6, 2019.

Being little in business is big, and the “gig” economy influence is making that easy.

Let’s face it, we know how traditional resource based economies focused on production, distribution and retail operations work. These traditional economies are often constructed around local resources, factory production styles and retail distribution. That is changing, but not entirely.

Modern customers and workplaces are demanding non-traditional solutions and this blended with technology is allowing the influence of the gig economy to grow and shift traditional economic thinking.

But, what is the gig economy, anyway?

In recent years, those referring to gig economy would quickly explain it largely as a new labor market fueled by freelancers and contractors that would power the way companies and organizations do business. This definition though, has broadened and the gig economy is now not only transforming the workforce but helping traditional businesses to innovate.

Think of the gig economy as the economy of solopreneurs.

This kind of individualized economic landscape allows entrepreneurs and large companies alike to build new customer segments and workforce productivity, better than available in traditional economic settings.

But how does a company, small business or entrepreneur take advantage of the transforming economic opportunities? Simply put, you build a plan to leverage it and all it represents. Here are few easy ways to do just that.

1. Develop a workplace focused on happiness and individualism. Many workplaces now covet workplace wellness but a key to building a place where people love to work is allowing people to think and act like entrepreneurs in their daily work. It’s easier than you think to set up processes that allow employees and contractors to work at building your company, rather than just working in it. Let those smart and creative people that you believed in enough to hire, contribute in a way that matters.

2. Diversify your product offering to merge technology and personalization. Customers are now looking for quicker more personalized service. Think of Amazon’s open return policy to find ways that build value for a customer where it counts. There’s a lot to be learned from how Amazon builds relationships with their no-fuss return policy without ever meeting their customer.

3. Act quickly and be the transition, rather than become irrelevant. The transition from traditional to new economy can be best impacted by existing small business and entrepreneurs. Shifting business priorities, product choices and distribution models to suit the new consumer and ever changing population is the best way to risk proof long term success. Changing how you do business to suit customers before they are lost, makes sense.

The gig economy influence presents a massive opportunity for forward thinking, proactive entrepreneurs and companies to be part of building the new economy, rather than just watching it happen.

Happier workers, better customer relationships and an economy of our making sounds pretty enticing to me.

Christie Wilson is an entrepreneur advisor at Medicine Hat College and the APEX Entrepreneurship Incubator.

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