The small businesses and start-ups of today are the market cornering behemoths of tomorrow. We all know that Apple started from Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak working out of a Californian garage in the mid-seventies.
And at this very moment in time, there are men and women working out of their own basements and garages across the world to bring us the innovations of tomorrow. A great number of these innovations will be brought to us through virtual reality.
At the time of writing, small businesses are looking at how they can adopt this technology in an effort to grow.
In the last five years, we have seen virtual reality technology move from being a tradeshow gimmick into a billion dollar industry. This can’t be better illustrated than the $2 billion acquisition of Oculusby Facebook in 2014. (And we all remember that Facebook was started in the dorm rooms of Harvard).
The stats show us that the number of businesses that are started every year vastly exceeds the number of businesses that succeed. Bloomberg research, as reported by Forbes, revealed that eight out of every ten businesses fail. The first few years of a business’s life are where it is at its most vulnerable.
At this stage, it is the willingness of entrepreneurs to take risks with new ideas and technologies that will set them apart from their counterparts that will ultimately face more barriers to success.
One such example of a small business working this technology in from the ground up is the newly rechristened Within, who, as reported on this site, managed to raise the best part of $13 million to further develop their immersive film concept.
Across a number of other industries, innovators are now looking at the likes of Oculus breaking into the mass market, and speculating as to how this technology can be applied to them.
In many cases, we will potentially see VR being utilised as supplementary equipment to augment an existing business model. VR applications have been explored for a number of industries including medicine, real estate, the motor industry, as well as the more traditionally accepted adopters such as gaming and entertainment.
Advice of Chris Smith
For the young entrepreneurs who are courting financial institutions, the struggle that they will most likely come in convincing banks the potential growth within the VR industry. While many banks are happy to lend useful advice to entrepreneurs, many are still wary about putting their money into businesses that are looking to adopt VR technologies.
This gives explanation for the trend for the use of crowdfunding to bypass the need to go grovelling to a bank’s loan department. It will be the role of businesses leaders to familiarise themselves with VR technology in the coming months and years. As stated before we are currently at a transitional phase with regards to VR.
Beyond the stage of infancy, moving into mass market adoption. Any small business looking to get itself off the ground should be taking steps to integrate this technology in any way it can. It will influence our lives, and success will lie with those who realise its potential sooner, rather than later.