Why Are Small Businesses Allergic to Strategy? - Part 1
SIDEBAR: This week, I'm going to be posting on Monday (today) and on Friday, when the conclusion of this post will run.
Before I give you the answer to the question posed in the headline, I need to set the stage...
About two years ago, our company completely gave up on working with small businesses. Ok, not completely. Allow me to explain...
I used to do consulting for some pretty heavy companies - MasterCard, Pitney Bowes, etc. But one of the things that peeved me about working with large corporations is that my team would put our blood, sweat and tears into a project and just like that *snap* some suit from the CEO suite would cancel the project - and we were expected to shift focus and pump that same energetic ferver into the next project. As if!
So, I started to think, Pinky & The Brain-style, about how I could take over the world if Icould just get small businesses to use strategies that were similar to what the big guns were using. So, with my head in the clouds and a seemingly great idea in my head, I started xynoMedia. But, it was hard to get business owners who were more focused on making their mortgage payment (as they should be) to devote time to working 'on' the business and develop growth-oriented strategies - and technology strategy no less? Yeah, right! So, the inevitable happened...our email and phone lines were dripping with interest but our bank account...well, it needed a tad bit more emollience.
So, in typical Scorpio, all-or-nothing fashion, I met with my Advisors and I convinced them that swearing off working with small businesses was the right thing to do and we started our work with mid-sized companies that were hell bent on growth. All was well in the land of Nod until I started to realize that working solely with mid-sized companies wasn't going to 'wag my tail' (thanks Kelli!). I missed the adrenaline rush of small businesses. I missed the shorter sales cycles. I missed the empassioned calls from clients who realized that we helped their companies grow by 20 and sometimes 50%! I missed nursing a project from concept to completion in less than 6 months. But, what to do? I had already (successfully) convinced my team that small businesses weren't the way to go.
So, one night, I started thinking...what do small businesses REALLY need to know about business and about technology that will get them over the blasted small business hump and push them to the next level? Hell if I knew but, I was certain there had to be something.
It hit me one night in the shower. Small businesses needed a Technology Diet! They needed to know which technology they needed to 'eat', when they needed to 'eat' it and they needed to know how to 'prepare' it so that it met their company's nutritional goals. There was all sorts of small business technology information everywhere but none of it was all in one place. And, none of it had a strategic approach that only a technology strategist (me) could give it. EUREKA! With shower cap firmly in place, I ran to my computer and registered http://www.TechnologyDiet.com. Through this program, I found way to get my small business 'fix' AND help business owners at the same time. Cool!
But, we knew that in order for the Technology Diet Program to be a success, we would have to answer the $250,000 'strategy allergy' question so that we could help the participants clear this block; thereby freeing them to focus totally on strategy during the 8 weeks of the Program.
So, why ARE small businesses allergic to strategy?
Hmmm...I'll let you know on Friday...but, true to form, the answers came to me in the shower...
(P.S. In the meantime, post your own answers to the question in the comments area and the person who gives the most complete, strategic answer by this Friday will be awarded a mystery prize worth a couple hundred bucks...oh, and their name with a link to their web site mentioned on this blog.)