One of the biggest differences I noticed in moving to Lymington from London was the high percentage of businesses in and around Lymington that could be described as ‘small businesses’. It might seem obvious but the economy outside of big conurbations is really in the hands of sole traders and companies with only a few employees. Perhaps surprisingly I have found that these small businesses, who perhaps would benefit most from being as efficient as possible, do not by and large utilize technology to any great degree.
I have concluded that one of the main reasons is what might be termed ‘techno assumption’. This is the state of mind whereby if you mention any sort of acronym that sounds technical, the eyes glaze over and you are told that they’re not smart enough to understand what you are talking about. To my mind there are a number of reasons for this.
1. No-one has taken the time to explain the benefits in plain English.
2. Because they are probably very focused and skilled in their own profession they may not have had much exposure to the sort of technology that can be of benefit to them.
3. Out of the Box technologies may not fit the way they work.
The thing is that many of these sole traders and small business owners are very smart people. To survive in the current climate they have to be, but I think it is incumbent on those of us in the technology sector to stop being consultants and start being advisors. I term myself a Technology Advisor as I see my role as exposing small business, sole traders and charities to the possibilities of using technology to make what they do as efficient as possible.
It is however a constant battle to keep from lapsing into technobabble when describing for instance what the difference between different email providers is. But it must be done. To be a good advisor requires communicating with the client in ways that they can relate to, not just using words and acronyms that I understand.
So having said that, I propose to put my money where my mouth is and in the next post focus on a specific technology which would be relevant to small businesses, sole traders and small charities. If you can’t be bothered to wait, you can get in touch and see where I can help you.