From the previous article, “What’s a Watershed,” I have an addendum along the same lines; that is filling an access void with scale and synergies. Here’s what I have been imagining.
Recall that a “Watershed” is a geographically central location in a community for startup businesses to “start up” and feed off of one another for encouragement, ideas, and infrastructure (meaning connectivity, electricity, etc.), while having access to outside expertise in an efficiently available location. Some people refer to such an entity as an innovations hub, a business incubator, or an entrepreneurship center.
There would be shop cubicles on the first floor for production and sale visible to the shoppers, and meeting rooms for business educational programs offered by subject matter as well as customer producer discussions and whatever else served the needs and interests of the business operators.
The addition to these features I would add is cubicles to conduct business by those “away from home” without reliable internet and other communication capabilities we’re use to “back home.” The obvious reasons are the hills and forests that surround our area’s most attractive assets, the lakes and their picturesque surroundings.
Why is it Needed
So what happens now? The meetings, the discussions have to go on, and the others in the activity, wherever they are, will not stay understanding for long as their productivity and performance are impacted by our not being able to fully assist and participate.
Recently my wife was a perfect example of this, at our lake home when connectivity raised its ugly head. She went to the library and found a number of others doing the same, it could have been to the school, or to a municipal building or wherever else one could obtain this necessity of current business conduct, seamless connectivity, from wherever we connect, at home or office or cottage or whatever. If we don’t, we suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (sorry Hamlet) known as dropped calls, delayed voicemail, interrupted “zooms,” and other interferences from weather, wind, and most recently, smoke. And there goes the vacation relaxation value.
How do we get it
If there was one silver lining from the COVID years forced closedowns it was that business can go on, that remote connections can be beneficial even if not ideal, and that we all can accept a certain amount of that separation and still be productive. This works particularly if the parties know each other and if clusters of them can group up in a hybrid “meeting.” Not much travel then required and “business casual” is largely the new normal anyway.
Think of the benefits to the “Watershed,” more shoppers, more browsers, more ideas to be generated just from seeing the activity, from imagining the possibilities, just from exposure.
Of course, there would be guidance requirements for courtesy and fairness. Probably be some charge, but we just roll in our mobile office briefcase, pull out our cell phone, stick in our ear plugs, and connect our lap top and, “voila,” we’re in business. And the phrase “gone fishin’” can be immediately posted on screen at the conclusion.
A New Feature: Small Bus Q & A
As I have received a number of questions and comments since the series began, I will try to respond to a couple each article to stay current. For further involvement, my email is below, merely use the subject “PickUp comment or question” and name the article # as applicable.
The Summary Message
I reiterate from the prior article, there is no reason every community couldn’t have its own “Watershed” and every reason, for the health of the community, to get started. Because we all have experienced a connectivity void, there is no reason, until resolved for which I am not holding my breath, not to add “lake” offices to the “Watershed.”
All the usual suspect Up North communities are ripe for the Watershed with a View. The more connected our temporary visitors can be, hopefully the more time they will spend here and with spending time comes spending money of course. Win-Win I say. Let “dreamers” achieve dreams, let visitors connect as needed and then let everyone “go fishin’.”
Local businesses highlighted. A new world order for resorts, camps, and yes, churches!
Richard Koenings is an instructor and professor at Nicolet College and Concordia University, an executive manager of small and large businesses, a founder of three businesses, has 30 years of experience as a business lawyer and may be reached at [email protected].