Planning Your Virtual Business: Staying One Step Ahead of a Fast-Changing Business Model

By Steven D. Peterson, Peter E. Jaret, Barbara Findlay Schenck

If you plan on starting a virtual enterprise, you will need to account for a fast-changing climate in your business plan. Many observers are convinced that virtual companies will become increasingly common as advances in technology make it even easier for employees to work wherever they are. Transformative innovations will continue to yield new opportunities and new virtual business models.

To take just one example, virtual reality is already making inroads in the information and entertainment sector. Chances are good that virtual reality will soon be used for hiring and training remote employees and as a tool for allowing potential customers to try out a product or service before buying it.

No one — not even so-called futurists — can accurately predict where technological change will lead. But if you’re already on the cutting edge as a virtual business, it’s smart to stay as informed as you can about new breakthroughs and changing trends. Some advice:

  • Keep an eye on business and technology news.
  • Attend technology conferences relevant to your business, such as QCon, AppSphere, CIO, ITEXPO.
  • Listen to your virtual team members (as remote workers, they’re often the first to hear about some cool new file-sharing or teleconferencing platform).
  • Schedule regular sessions with key managers to review your IT operations and suggest areas for improvement.