A recent survey by online business market place Peopleperhour.com has ascertained that SMEs are still in the dark when it comes to “cloud computing”. Continue reading
The concept of a tipping point was brilliantly explored and explained by the eccentric Malcom Gladwell in his book of the same name.
Of course, tipping points occur in so many different ways in markets, and even among political movements.
The problem for all of us is that we rarely recognise that point when it happens and can only really identify it after it has happened.
When ever was the beauty of hindsight more required than in spotting when a point tips?
Many media observers are currently ruminating at length on the impact that social media is having in the modern world and more importantly, in business. The accepted view is that despite Stephen Fry, Lady Gaga, Lord Sugar, Rio Ferdinand, Jonathan Ross et al, the surface is still barely being scratched. This is particularly the case for business.
There are still so many sceptics and cynics who argue that social media requires too much time and has too little impact. As a result, for all the impressive user statistics and the hyperbolic valuations, businesses, and by that I mean smaller businesses, are barely going anywhere near it. They still don’t understand how it might work for them.
The truth is, many of these smaller businesses have a shocking web presence and are far from or fulfilling the opportunities that the internet presents them with.
Yet despite all this, and in the knowledge that most tipping points glide by unnoticed, methinks I may have spotted one, albeit, partly in disguise,.
The Ryan Giggs twaffair will undoubtedly leave its mark on the legal profession and sound the death knell for super injunctions and even plain old non-super ones. However, it may also make the masses, many of them running a small business, sit up and take notice. Never before have the masses joined together in such a way to force change. It is not a giant leap, for the massed ranks of the bourgeoisie to realise that harnessing that power in a business context could similarly have a major impact.
With something as potentially massive as social media, it is possible that it may take a number of points to tip to jointly have the desired effect and change the way we do business.
Maybe we just saw one.
As a Chartered Accountant and partner in Westbury, Howard Graham has been helping small businesses for the last 30 years. During that time, he has also set up numerous successful businesses including an award winning internet business and a restaurant as well as having an interest in a property company, a farm and a design company. He also is a regular speaker on small business issues as well as writing for theBBC, Microsoft, Imbibe magazine.
Linked In duly made its debut on the stock market recently and it immediately doubled in value effectively valuing it at over 30 times turnover – yes that’s turnover, not profit. I haven’t read or heard a single commentator who can see any justification in the value. Continue reading
The Business news is full of the latest stories in connection with Microsoft purchasing Skype for the rumoured figure of $8bn. This is not the first time that Skype has been acquired, but the truth of the matter is that Skype barely makes a profit despite the fact that it is a wonderful service which I use all the time. Continue reading
I am writing this post as I watch a formidable clock tick down towards zero. I am watching it, because I’ve given up completing the form to which it relates. Continue reading
There has been considerable talk in the media over the last few weeks, speculating on the valuations of some high profile businesses.
Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Spotify and LinkedIn, have all had some eye-watering numbers ascribed to them, yet in some cases, they seem very optimistic.
There can be no doubt that some, if not all of these businesses, have amassed very substantial user bases, and their following, globally, is very substantial. The real question is whether their business models will ever be able to generate sufficient profits.
A number of commentators have been speculating as to whether we are heading towards another dotcom crash. The problem is that none of us really know which businesses will survive to become the next Google or Amazon and which ones will literally just crash and burn.
It’s hard to imagine Facebook, Twitter or any of the other very high profile names not making it in some way or another, but the thousands of “me to” sites, that have been funded by business angels or venture capitalists, may not survive in the long run.
At the end of the day, however much in the way of smoke and mirrors is applied, a business has got to make money and generate cashflow.
Perhaps the problem is a more fundamental one and goes to the heart of what is currently taking place online. For many years, we have all become used to getting information, products and software for nothing or next to nothing. Rupert Murdoch, with his innovative new approach to news, maybe showing us the way forward. The jury is still out on this, but there is no doubt about it that Facebook, Twitter and the like have to find a serious revenue stream to warrant their stellar valuations.
You have to ask yourself how millions of Twitter and Facebook users would feel if a subscription model was introduced. It could be that the basic model allows a certain amount of usage with various subscription models for additional services. Would people pay £5 a month for that? I think they possibly would.
Whatever happens, the next few years could see some very interesting developments in the way the Internet is used, how businesses are valued and what new ideas are developed.
As a Chartered Accountant and partner in Westbury, Howard Graham has been helping small businesses for the last 30 years. During that time, he has also set up numerous successful businesses including an award winning internet business and a restaurant as well as having an interest in a property company, a farm and a design company. He also is a regular speaker on small business issues as well as writing for the BBC, Microsoft, Imbibe magazine.