If you haven’t noticed the phenomenon of cell-phone zombies of all ages walking through your neighborhood at all hours of the day an night in the last 5 days, you simply haven’t stepped outside the safety of your own home. Game-maker Nintendo, along with Niantic, Inc. (created and spun off from Google) has created a gamer’s nirvana… Augmented Reality has arrived! Instead of playing within a game’s map and capturing Pokémon, real life gamers (and yes… this includes millions of Gen-Xers like me) are capturing 151 of those “pocket monsters” in ‘real life’ as they hit the streets and start walking through their neighborhoods.
As of the date of this writing, Pokémon Go is but 5 days old… and already, it has more active users than the dating app Tinder, and has quite possibly eclipsed the number of Twitter users which is significant because Twitter is 10 years old – and Pokémon Go hasn’t seen it’s first full week yet.
What can a “Gone Viral” game teach small business owners? At least 5 things worthy of your attention.
1. You must be attractive.
While it’s true that the intent of the game is to get you ‘out and about’, (I saw one meme that said Michelle Obama has tried for 8 years to do what Pokémon Go did in 24 hours!) – it is also true that you can use ‘incense’ to attract Pokémon to appear in front of you. When you are ‘attractive’, it is MUCH EASIER to catch new Pokémon. So it is in business as well. You must be attractive in order to get new customers to notice (and be caught by) you.
2. There is no substitute for activity.
In Pokémon Go, you are encouraged to get out of your comfort zone, and start exploring your world. Without this action, you simply will not be able to maximize your experience. This is also true in business. The best ideas in the world amount to nothing without action. In order to convert (capture) new business, you must get out there with marketing, advertising and good, old-fashioned person-to-person networking.
3. You must know your target-market.
Certain Pokémon are only able to be caught after sunset. Some will only be found near water. In the business world, you must have a solid grip on the demographics of your target market – or you simply will not ‘catch them all’.
4. There are very few instructions.
For those familiar with the older versions of Pokémon, the concept of the game comes intuitively. For the rest of us (myself included), we have to learn by doing. There is nothing like experience, and we earn that in the real world. Most business owners I know started with a passion – and not much more. They learned via the school of hard knocks, and in a large majority of cases – they went out of business before the 3rd year. Wise indeed are those who do their research, and find a way to learn while on-the-job!
5. There’s strength in collaboration.
Kudos to the team that made the world of Pokémon come alive in our own little picture of existence. And even more kudos to the business owners who grasp the concept of “co-opetition”. These are those who’re open to collaboration – even within the boundaries of their own industry – they are those who win in the game of business. Every time.
Does a game gone viral really propose to teach us business owners a thing or two? I suggest that it does… and it does so VERY WELL.
There are many other lessons one might learn from Pokémon Go, and I will continue to post them as they make themselves known. In the meantime, Charmander has just shown up in my bedroom, so please excuse me as I try to capture him!
Eric Reamer is the co-host of the nationally syndicated Experience Pros Radio Show, known as the “most positive business talk show in America.” Airing Monday though Friday from 5am – 8am (Mountain Time) in Denver Colorado on AM 1690 KDMT, and nationally from 8am – 10am (EST), the Experience Pros Radio Show supports small business with training and real-life experience.