The COVID-19 pandemic has a lot of devastating impacts around the world but one of the most common ones has been its effects on small businesses. Due to lengthy lockdown periods, businesses that didn’t have the resources to wait it out were forced to downscale, lay off staff, and in a lot of cases – close completely. It’s been a blood bath.
But at the same time, there have been certain companies who have benefitted tremendously from the accelerated shift to this new online world, and probably the biggest one of those is Zoom. And in this article, we’re going to discuss why Zoom has done so well over the last 18 months and what they can teach you about opportunity.
Let’s dive in.
There are a million different video conferencing tools out there (or so it feels like) and yet Zoom is the one that has broken out from the back and it stands out amongst its peers. You know that they’ve done well when the brand name has become a verb and is a key part of the modern lexicon. In any discussion around remote work, online communication, or team collaboration – Zoom is going to be near the top of that list.
Through some really savvy marketing and branding, they were able to make themselves the number one choice in a very competitive industry – which is why they’ve grown in the way that they have. And remember, they’re competing against technology giants like Google, Microsoft, and the like – which makes it even more impressive.
For most consumers, we don’t think about what it actually takes to run a successful technology product or platform. It just works and so we don’t think much past it. But if you were to look behind the scenes, you’d see an incredibly complicated and sophisticated backend infrastructure that helps to deliver the service to you as you see it. The beautiful frontend hides all the complexity and so we tend to underestimate what it takes.
Zoom has been a master at this. The video conferencing setup that they provide is very user friendly and it just works, every time. But in order to do that, the infrastructure behind the scenes needs to be absolutely top-notch. Not only does it need to be incredibly efficient and robust, they also need the sheer volume to handle the required bandwidth while still delivering a great experience.
During the pandemic, there has been an unprecedented increase in demand for video conferencing and most companies would have stumbled under the pressure of the sheer volume of new users. But Zoom’s infrastructure has been able to handle the rapid growth because of the way that it’s built and the fact that they were always ready to take on more users than they currently had on board.
Regardless of whether it’s a business meeting, a birthday party, a conference, or a webinar – Zoom has won the battle because their infrastructure could handle it all. This flexibility and agility in terms of scale is a serious competitive advantage. At the drop of a hat, Zoom is able to scale up or down its infrastructure to match the demand that it is seeing in the marketplace. This gives it the ability to align with what’s happening in its user base in real time. It’s a superpower.
But it’s not just technological infrastructure – its also with their human capital. It takes an immense amount of collaboration between teams of people to pull off what Zoom has done. Their ability to scale their personnel while still staying core to the mission and the stated values underlies their success and sets them up perfectly to take advantage of the continued momentum that the industry is likely to enjoy.
Zoom has done a really incredible job of positioning themselves in the market as the company that’s going to help you get your company to work together sustainably in a virtual environment. While their competitors are desperately trying to go into full sales mode to win market share, Zoom realized that this wasn’t the right time. In the middle of a global pandemic where everyone is struggling just to keep their heads above water, now was the time to listen to the community and see how they could be helpful.
They extended their free offering wherever possible, they worked closely with various partners to fast-track required integrations, and so on – doing whatever they could to be more helpful to their customers than anyone else. They knew the revenue would come eventually if they could help solve consumer needs.
They also focused on some key relationships which were the driving forces behind their growth. They understood that if they were able to make themselves indispensable to some key players across a wide range of industries, that would serve as the lead domino to make their software a no-brainer for everyone else. By focusing on these relationships, they made much more effective usage of their resources and have built what feels like an unassailable lead.
So, there you have it. Those are three of the key reasons why Zoom has emerged from this pandemic as a clear winner. Hopefully, you can draw some lessons from this about how successful companies see opportunity when no one else does and how they’re able to leverage it for their own growth.
This pandemic won’t be the last challenging circumstance that your business goes through and so if you want to remain relevant and sustainable over the long term, it’s crucial that you’re able to turn opportunities into something special. It just takes a mindset shift, an open mind, and a lot of hard work – and you could turn yourself into the next Zoom. It’s all up to you!