The pandemic swiftly pushed us into a Digital Age that is dominating every aspect of our lives. The 100,000 small businesses that physically closed in 2020 reflect some of these rapid changes, and the heartbreaking impact on our local communities5. None of us know what the “new normal” will look like in 2021, but we do know a lot of online, web-based, and digital changes are likely here to stay. Local business owners need to pivot successfully online in order to stay relevant. If you feel a little nervous or overwhelmed, it’s completely natural to feel those things. And I promise there’s hope. Choosing a Collaborative Business Network platform, like Avontage, is becoming necessary whether you’re a local business owner or skilled creative or freelancer1,2,3. It’s the smart move if you want to save, stabilize, scale, or even start your business.
In a Collaborative Business Network, you can exchange your local-based business goods and services with other community members or offer to “pay” them for their expertise using your trade credits (Avontage Bucks). For example, local coffee shop owner, Jaime, offers coffee, baked goods, and other items in her shop to earn trade credit. Jaime was struggling to keep her doors open. UberEats and DoorDash were taking too much of a cut, eating into her profits. However, exchanging her coffee shop goods for trade credit, she was able to save enough credits to hire experts in marketing and graphic design services, a sales coach, content writer, and web developer to rebrand and pivot her restaurant online.
With her new brand online and marketing efforts bolstered, Jaime quickly developed a rich social media following, which boosted her online restaurant reviews. She secured top-of-mind presence in her local community and increased online delivery and curbside orders, which eliminated any 3rd-party delivery drivers, while stabilizing and scaling her business. And her expert team become her customers. This translates into pure profitability. The cost of her expert team? The cost of the food ingredients and labor to make the food. No cash spent, which Jaime didn’t have. All done digitally. All trade. Complete success through collaboration. Collaboration, trade economies, and corporate capitalism, especially at the local-community level, is the future of successful small business owners and freelancers3,4.
Collaborative Business Networks, like Avontage, are the key to start or scale your business quickly3. Dr. McGrath, from Columbia Business School wrote The End of Competitive Advantage back in 20136. McGrath outlines how companies won’t keep up if they choose the lone-wolf path of competition.
A once-necessary strategy – competitive advantage – is now a formula for failure. This fact is augmented by the exponential push into the Digital Age, catalyzed by the 2020 pandemic, and exacerbated by corporate record-sales as entire local communities go under. For good. Competitive advantage is becoming obsolete. Competition is now a huge risk6, particularly at the local level. We must shift our perspective from competitive capitalism, to collaborative capitalism among our local communities. Or big-box retailers, like Amazon and Walmart, will continue to put our local retailers out of business7. Unless we do something about it. Together. As local communities. Trading services is one core feature of collaborative capitalism, and communities who practice this approach are beginning to thrive.
Barter exchange is an intelligent business move in our fast-changing markets and world. Barter economies are not new. Many of these mega corporations have used approaches akin to a Collaborative Business Network and were wildly successful8. What’s new is the way they’re evolving. They’re becoming niche4. Trading economies and collaborative capitalism is adaptation, with advantage in terms of speed and scale. This is how you get the business tools, support, and technology to launch or scale your business fast. Without increasing your overhead or spending cash. Avontage is the first Collaborative Business Network solely focused on growth-minded business owners who value profitability and a community platform above all else. Trading services locally, through online platforms, is how business owners are succeeding in the Digital Age, and the approach has been valued since the 1980s; a study showed those who engage in these approaches outperform their peers, including in higher market share and higher profit margins9.
On the innovative Avontage platform, you can trade your passion for the things you need to cultivate a growing business in a thriving local community in 2021. The community platform is simple to use, streamlining the process. You can connect to your community, and start trading immediately, with the simple push of a button. Let’s create meaningful economic growth together in the Digital Age!