How to Leverage New Technologies for the Success of Your Business: Win a Book and Find out!

, a recognized technology expert, about his book, “The Next Wave of Technologies." However rapid technology development is, Phil does a great job in keeping up with its pace and considering all the latest trends in his works. In his third book, which was published a couple of months ago, Phil took a look at the emerging technologies from the small business perspective. The title speaks for itself: “The New Small: How a New Breed of Small Businesses Is Harnessing the Power of Emerging Technologies.” What are “the new small businesses” and how do they leverage the opportunities brought by new technologies? Phil shared his point of view on these questions when we met to discuss his new book. Read our conversation to learn more. Phil, congratulations on the release of “The New Small”! According to the subheading, the book is focused on “the new breed” of small businesses that successfully leverage the new technologies. What exactly is this “new breed”? This new breed of small businesses is open, experimental and curious. They are constantly pushing the envelope and refuse to manage by routine. You’ll never hear “that’s not the way we do things here.” They’re a dynamic bunch of companies that, as you see in the book, are doing some amazing things. The owners of these companies inspired me a great deal. They weren’t afraid to break away from old tools and techniques that have worked for them and taken them to a certain point. In the first chapter of the book, which is available for free preview at your Web site, you call the present situation “the era of constant technological change.” In your opinion, is there a difference between the way large enterprises and smaller companies respond to it? If so, what are the main challenges that small businesses face? For political, legal and financial reasons, big companies often cannot get away from technologies that no longer work for them. Small companies don’t have that problem. The world is their oyster. Yet that very freedom can easily become chaos. Fortunately, the New Small is able to strike a balance, getting the benefits of amazing new technologies in the process. What about globalization – is it a threat or an opportunity for the New Small? Both. If you think that you’re safe as “the local provider of X” services, unless you’re a plumber, you’re in for a rude awakening. Why do you think the emerging technologies, such as social media or cloud computing, are a perfect match for the needs of small businesses? Can you share a specific example of successfully harnessed new technologies? For one, the advantage of new technologies is that they scale quite easily. No longer does a business need to predict “just how much” technology it will need. Second, success begets success. You can dip your toe in the pool before you jump in. Finally, with the freemium model, you can test-drive technologies before making the jump. There are many case studies that prove all this. For instance, I can think of Skjold-Barthel, the law firm that threw all of its data and apps into the cloud, reducing its IT costs by 75 percent. That’s just one example, but the book is rife with them. I can’t agree more with you regarding the significance of scalability. In my opinion, it is one of the key things that decide whether a solution is efficient for a company or not. Teams grow, and they have more and more data to organize. The system they use should be able to accommodate as much data as needed and still remain productive and comfortable to use, kind of like the social networks that we use daily. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who have just started or are planning to start their own business? The impact of new technologies isn’t necessarily the same across the board. Different companies still have different needs; one size certainly doesn’t fit all. So don’t be afraid to experiment or fail. Einstein said something along the lines of, “If you want to increase your success rate, fail more often.” This couldn’t be truer today, particularly with respect to small businesses. Also, get away from technologies that no longer meet your needs. Whether it’s ERP, CRM, a content management system (CMS) or whatever, see if there’s something better out there. Then try it out! Do you have any tips for managing projects in the New Small? Yes, and the main one is – go agile. The companies that inspired me do not use Waterfall-based methods. They can’t wait a year to see if something is conceptually sound. Throw something against the wall and see what you like and what you don’t. Also, don’t reinvent the wheel. See what open source and off-the-shelf tools exist. Use existing APIs and modules to extend functionality. Thank you, Phil. It was really nice talking to you. Some good news for my readers – if you have enjoyed this interview just as much as I did and wish to know more about “the new breed” of small businesses, you have a chance to get Phil’s book for free! Share your point of view in the comments to this post. The author of the most interesting comment will win a copy of “The New Small.”

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