SMB’s – We are Not All The Same

March 31, 2008

I know that this post will be anathema to every IT consultant in the small business / medium business space. However, it is true – in the SMB space, we are not all the same.

I had a great discussion with the president of a small business. We started discussing technology recommendations that his tech provider was recommending. After discussing his business and requirements, I said don’t bother, you will just be wasting money – invest it somewhere else in the business.

This business actually has approximately the same revenue as my own organization, and we have a huge technology requirement and investment. The difference?

Even though our organizations would statistically classify as the same size by revenue and other metrics, my organization is a technology based company. We provide on-line, Internet based tools. Just about everything we do has an electronic element of some kind. We generate revenue through the creation and management of technology solutions.

In this small business Presidents case, it is the opposite. His business is the distribution of manufactured product. He generates revenue moving boxes out the door.

So in his case, a basic technology investment for their financial package and e-mail. But nothing fancy required. As I explained, technology can definitely help speed up a process, but until you have identified a particular process that technology can help speed up – buying various technology tools or packages are not going to help you.

Perhaps you begin to find that you are getting a backlog in some piece of the business, just through lack of time to “paperwork” – perhaps for inventory, ordering, shipping etc. At that point you can begin to look at how a technology solution can reduce that backlog by reducing the amount of manual time to get the process completed.

I think that his tech supplier took me off of their greeting card list.

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