Written by Michael Smith on the 30th of September, 2014
Back in the 1970’s, a guy named Schumacher wrote a book called ‘Small is Beautiful’. Listed as one of the top 100 influential texts published since World War II, it posed the notion that Globalisation and mass production had dehumanised the workplace and hampered creativity and competition. In contrast, it extolled the virtues of being small, nimble and able to adapt and adopt in a way that enabled you to punch well above your weight.
Much of what Schumacher preached related to economics, notably the scale at which you chose to operate and the economies or diseconomies that resulted from this. This is even more relevant today than you might believe.
The impact of technology has enabled businesses to go stratospheric in a very short space of time but its interesting that scale, globalisation and critical mass has does not always turn these organisations into dinosaurs. The smart businesses, like Google, Zendesk, Xero and other SaaS technologies realise that remaining nimble is key to staying competitive.
Conversely, there are a number of established software providers that have been around alot longer who have become global conglomerates in the old sense and have failed to react to the changing world (you know who you are!).
Being able to emulate this approach can have surprisingly positive benefits for SME businesses. By embracing more collaborative ways of working and using technology to become more market-focused, an organisation can effectively punch above its weight because it has freed itself of the operational and administrative chains that has held it back and by using technology, has empowered its people to freely communicate and collaborate in a wider world.
Here are a few things that you can do with your IT and technology to help make being small a real benefit:
References: E F Schumacher (1973) Small is Beautiful, Random House E-book.
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