What role will Virtual Offices and Virtual Working play in the future of global businesses?
"Emerging markets like Nigeria can make use of the benefits of Virtual Offices in London for online working abroad."
Can you guess how many people live in and around Lagos? Twenty million. Many will have hoped the capital would provide and social mobility would follow; it might, but thanks to digital innovation, outside of manual labour and the production industries, social mobility and jobs are no longer tethered to fixed locations.
"Yet digital innovation requires a burgeoning service industry, which requires conspicuous consumption."
The internet, as the ultimate and all encompassing invention of facilitation – of making things easier – is the perfect, rosy cheeked love child of a service economy and a consumer mindset. As primary and secondary industries decline and growth stagnates (as is being seen across major economies) individualism, financial and social, swells as people are pushed outside traditional channels of labour to cover the standard of living arrived at by the previous generation.
So what of emerging and less economically developed countries in this lumbering, stuttering global economy? Going online lends societies the opportunity to skip the other stages of economic and social progress so long as there’s a market for things. 172 million people in Nigeria, for example, would suggest there must be. Joe Sapien can leap into action without so much as a loan from the bank or a whistle from the wind.
The online marketplace can transform an 18 year old in a bedroom into a virtual entrepreneur, and be taken as seriously as any swain in a suit. In its own special way the virtual business world is meritocratic, emphasising concept over record. The whole 10000 hours mantra is out of the window: can you do it? Or can you look like you can do it? If the digital shopfront fits, you can make money out of the it, and bludgeon your competition into irrelevance with the power of Google.
By far the biggest injection of new investment, infrastructure and capital in Nigeria is being ploughed into the telecoms industry, which has seen triple-digit growth rates five years in a row after competition was introduced.
This is crucial because it means emerging markets struggling to catch up with infrastructure can hop on the foundations of surer, securer markets, leapfrogging the inevitable hurdles or pitfalls that litter younger states.
"How does that impact upon emerging economies?"
In terms of migration and centres of opportunity, so long as the city remains, the population no longer needs to stay – like people waiting for a replacement bus service - as tech and communications savvy people grow in inverse proportion to the decline of the luddites (who are now officially dying out as the last generation not brought up with smart phones passes into the obscurity of their third decades.)
"How much will changes be affected by the internet and Virtual Offices?"
Virtual offices, virtual assistants and all inclusive accounts management packages provided by outsourcing firms like ours can turn anyone with an idea into a legitimate company in a matter of hours. It bypasses bureaucracy for the new recruit, enabling people into work from countries where paperwork, forms and regulations end up discouraging people due to their labyrinthine nature.
"What is next?"
It is therefore imperative upon these governments and economies to invest as much as possible in digital infrastructure with a view of bringing broadband to the masses. It requires substantial financial and social investment in education, literacy and skills, but the virtual online business world can and will open up huge opportunities for people in remote areas to build businesses and create jobs, enterprise and aspiration.
In a recent speech entitled ‘Internet and E-commerce Revolution in Nigeria’ the CEO of Troyka Group, Biodun Shobanjo, noted that e-commerce would remain the core driver of the Nigerian economy.
“E-commerce mirrors the village centre […] in e-commerce, mutual trust and relationship matter a lot,” he added.
In 2014, total global retail trade was 32.49 trillion dollars with e-commerce contributing around 1.3 trillion dollars. According to Shobanjo as the online marketplace ecosystem engenders sales and marketing grows, so too would personal and community growth.
It's a common theme, echoed by the founder of Konga.com, Sim Shagaya, said recently that:
“E-commerce is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business sectors in the world today. The situation in Africa is quite unique; the need to create and build from the scratch is ubiquitous’'.
It is crucial for emerging economies to focus on digitising their economies as quickly as possible for their communities - both online and off - to start utilising the networks, securities and opportunities that come with a global financial centre virtually.