A “Flick of the Switch”…could this be the next Nightmare on Main St.?

Everyone you speak with will tell you in one way or another that this time it’s different. It doesn’t matter if they’re talking about personal or business experiences. Doesn’t matter if they’re talking about marriage or divorce, kids or grand kids, TV, radio, or anything else. The line always comes up, but this time it’s different. Well, I’m here to say it’s a lot different from what anyone thinks, and it can get a whole lot scarier than anyone might dream about it also.

Most have never heard the term ” a flick of a switch ” used in terms that denotes a fundamental change in the way businesses can operate in today’s technologically advanced world. Anyone who doesn’t fully understand this term or its implications today had better start trying to learn everything they can about it right now. Its impact will be felt everywhere and time is not on your side.

A flick of the switch means if I have a business in location X, I can just flick a switch and operate in location Y. In years past most companies needed some sort of brick and mortar facility to conduct meaningful trade. That is no longer the norm. As a matter of fact, most of the newer successful businesses of the last decade have been ones that can operate anywhere. Take Amazon for an example. Where are the stores? Where are warehouses? Can you go to a store? No…and do you care where the warehouse is located? Again No.  So if they moved the warehouse to some other location would that impact your sales experience with Amazon? More than likely it wouldn’t, and if you didn’t hear or read about it you would never know.  More than likely as long as your shipment came on time you probably wouldn’t give it a second thought. However, for the thousands of people who work in the warehouse filling orders, or the myriad of other business interactions with other local vendors, one day it’s here, next day it’s gone.

So you’re saying to yourself, OK…that’s a retail business, I get that, but c’mon, we deal with that everyday in today’s world. Yes you do, but think about all the other businesses you deal with. Or all the others you know that fall into a similar category. If your interaction with a company is done primarily online, where the physical business is located is not much of a concern to you. It doesn’t become relevant unless you have the physical, and interactive business transactions with it (think grocery store). Here’s a few businesses that are fundamental to the US economy and think of the ancillary revenues they produce. Doesn’t matter whether you love them or hate them, just a list to make you think.  Imagine for a moment and play out the scenario in your mind’s eye if just this small list of businesses were no longer located in the US.

Ready?…all of Wall St, all Insurance Companies, all Banks, all Online Retailers, all Accounting Firms, all _________ ( you fill in the blank). All of these fall into the “flick of the switch”  type of businesses. They can relocate anywhere in the world in the equivalent of a New York minute. I’m just scratching the surface. I could list a hundred others and so could you, and that’s the scary part. If you think about it, it’s a gamble many are betting wont happen, but the odds favor it could. Think it’s hyperbole? On Friday Steve Wynn, probably the most successful developer and businessman in Las Vegas announced he is considering relocating his business empire to Macau. Yes folks, one of the United States premier businessmen believes he can be treated better, and prosper better in China than here in the US.

If that’s possible, you want to gamble on the rest?  Better hope what can happen in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

Mark