Small Business in the 21st Century

Small Biz Geek is aimed at UK self employed/small business owners with a beginner to intermediate knowledge of design, marketing and technology.

My name is Darren and this website is an online notebook stuffed with ideas. 馃挕

Hailing from the Derby/Nottingham area of the East Midlands, England, I’m passionate about teaching what I know and learning what I don’t.

Computer Love…

Society is firmly entrenched in computers. The charming allure of digital screens has fast tracked communications and offered up convenience surpassing all predictions.

Whether you’re controlling your boiler thermostat or trading in the financial sector, the varied applications of hardware and software have touched every aspect of modern life.

Consumer habits favour and fuel the technology boom so small businesses must position their selves appropriately.

It’s fair to say, however, that technology presents a non-negotiable situation often viewed with trepidation.

Printed Page Ink Cartridge

Small Biz Geek is written to document my interests, curiosity and findings. It helps me understand particular topics and deepens my understanding.

It might also fill your knowledge gaps, enlighten your understanding and help you be a better business.

Furthermore, I run a website design consultancy and love to work closely with excellent clients. If you believe we could do great work together, contact me.

Disruption to the Status Quo

The cyber age is throttling the traditional manufacturing economy the industrial revolution bought about in the 1700’s.

Similarly, early mass production led to the bespoke cottage industries of 18th Century England becoming disenfranchised if not completely uprooted.

Although large electricity companies still mine fossil fuels, and third world countries still rely on manufacturing, the age of industry is mostly over. It has been superseded by what began in the 1960’s as the digital revolution.

Spinning Jenny

The Spinning Jenny seemed radical at the time

Disruptive innovation has been creating and threatening markets for a long time. Henry Ford was able to find a way to use his Model T production line to double the wage of mechanics in Detroit.

Ford’s mass production lines were instrumental to the war effort and changed manufacturing for ever in post World War 2 America. With a sharp rise in commercial output, mass marketing was born.

So, although new developments may astonish us for a while, they become part of the norm since technology is predictable; it will always try to do things better, faster, cheaper.

Think about the following:

  • Electric disrupted gas
  • Aeroplanes disrupted balloons
  • Fax machines trumped letters
  • Hard drives are virtual filing cabinets
  • Scanners have threatened the photocopier market
  • Mobile phones have made public phones redundant
  • Email has just about replaced fax
  • SMS created a convenient alternative to voice calls
  • Cloud computing is gaining ground as a substitute for fixed data centers
  • Internet mobile devices have a larger market share than desktop computers
  • Social media is uniting kindred spirits (as well as sulking teenagers)

Coping with Change

Thirty years ago, USB sticks, search engines, Photoshop, podcasts, YouTube, Skype and iPhones were unheard of. Now these technologies are as common as a cup of coffee.

Graphics Tablet

Unfortunately, monolithic organisations, Luddites and traditionalists always defend the old ways out of fear and nostalgia.

Meanwhile, the innovators, early adopters and visionaries are trail blazing a new world characterised by pixels on a screen.

Where do you see yourself in all of this?

Education

Everything you have invested in over the last 10 or 20 years is changing. Even the education you received is under threat.

Schools were invented to instill compliance in young people in preparation for the manufacturing workforce – a workforce that is being dismantled in our post industrialist society.

Universities no longer guarantee a career because alumni students are being outclassed by individuals with real world experience. The institutions serve us less and less.

Think about it: a degree subject is expensive and made to look like an earned privilege. It is in fact a paid for product from a vendor peddling the idea of letters after your name.

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune”
– Jim Rohn

As you may agree, if you want REAL education, running a small business is among the best ways to learn.

Chalkboard Writing

For the sake of survival, we must commit to self study by continuously seeking knowledge if we’re to be competitive in business.

Because the internet represents the largest library of free resources in history it’s not unreasonable to say you could become an expert in a subject that interests you.

Small = Flexible

The advantage to being your own boss is having the freedom to try new ideas or tools.

A large organisation with a top down hierarchy usually wants to waste time with endless meetings before implementing untested systems. (Obviously, no one in an organisation wants to look bad if things do not work out.)

Smaller, independent firms often feel they have less to lose and are far more likely to embrace innovation. Your survival might just depend on using novel means to position yourself in the market.

Flexible Pencil

Design, Marketing & Technology

Design, marketing and technology are a means to an end. Whatever a business is selling, they are first and foremost a problem solver.

Design can be conceptual as well as visual. Spreadsheets, management systems and coding are every bit as valid as logos, leaflets or business cards.

Marketing is the process of identifying and serving a particular group of people with a particular problem needing a particular solution. As a result of planning and analysis, the design is commissioned to deliver a specific message to those with the problem.

The technology are the set of tools we use to deliver our solutions. Some people use hammers and saws while others use mice and keyboards.

You & Your Small Business

Shop

Presumably you’re working for yourself in some capacity?

Maybe you’re a consultant, one man band or small organisation?

Maybe you’re a shop, office, factory, consultant or homeworker.

Whatever it is you do, I imagine you want to be more effective by decreasing costs, increasing income, streamlining operations and saving time?

Technology can help us with our goals, whether it is software or hardware. Luckily for you, I’m slightly obsessed with these things!

There are lots of ideas outlined on this site that can help you take control or find inspiration. I am willing to share my thoughts and discoveries with you in as much detail and as often as I’m able.

General Featured Post

Books I’m Reading

Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker

“Virtual Freedom” by Chris Ducker (Book Review)

Overworked, micromanaging, stressed, unproductive. Four words all too familiar to many small businesses trapped in the vicious cycle of daily drudgery. Have you considered outsourcing roles or projects? In his book Virtual Freedom, virtual CEO and self confessed former control freak Chris Ducker shows how to escape from the day to day grind by working […]

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Primary Navigation

Home Page - The page you are on now.

Small Business Design Marketing Technology

About Me - My passions and interests.

About Me

Books - Recommended reading from my own book collection.

Photo of some of my books

My Tools - Information and advice about the tech tools I use daily.

Tools I Use

Blog Posts - The most recent journal entries, published on Tuesdays.

Keyboard and Mouse

Contact - Send an email or leave page comments.

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Secondary Navigation

Internet - Where is the internet going? How do we make it work for small business?

Desert Road

Modern Marketing - Modern strategies for reaching and engaging customers.

Marketing

Graphic Design - Logos, graphics and visual communication.

Graphic Design and Visual Communication

Web Development - Web infrastructure, servers, hosts, registrars, databases and logistics.

Website Development

Web Design - Designing and building the front end of a business website.

Web Design

Social Media - Social media and how to use it as a small business or modern marketer.

Social Media Badges

Technology - The role of science and mod cons in small business.

Technology

Misc Topics - Nerdy analysis & observations without a specific category.

Mixed Lego Bricks