Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What is a Very Small Business To Do?

Today I am puzzling over how the very smallest businesses, those owned by one or two people, who employ  a few people on a part time basis or perhaps employ no one aside from the owners at all, who are not particularly interested in computing and computers, but realize there is a tool there to be used... how can such a business best take advantage of computing? Yes, I was inspired by someplace specific. I am thinking about the studio where I practice yoga, Yoga Del Mar here in San Diego County (the town of Del Mar not surprisingly). Along with a few other interested students I have been discussing with the studio owner and long time yoga teacher Geri Portnoy how to best use computing, and social media in particular, to the studio's best advantage. I don't think I'd be going out on a limb by saying that all of us involved in that conversation would agree that yoga has been one of the best things to happen to us -  in my case, in terms of putting life in perspective. What better thing could I hope to share with others?

If this is all somewhat foreign ground to you, let me say that yoga has been around a looong time, and depending upon how you choose to define it, its origins vary. Ancient artwork depicting meditation goes back thousands of years. Writings discussing philosophical tenets often associated with yoga, via Buddhism for example, go back perhaps 2500 years or so. It all gets very complex very fast because there are now many styles of yoga and the history of each one varies. For example, one style that is suddenly very popular in the USA is called "hot yoga"; it is actually a variant of a style of yoga with a more formal name: Bikram yoga.  Did I mention that in this style of yoga you practice in a room temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celsius) with a humidity of 40%?

Not my style, but some people love it. Personally I prefer something a little less gung ho and a bit more mind and body well rounded. Recently, someone rather vigorously tried to convince me what great exercise! their particular style of yoga was and how I should ditch my current practice (Anusara) if I wanted to get a really good workout!!!

I had a fleeting thought that I could point out some nice musculature I have acquired as well as to demonstrate some limb flexibility...but that would have been a bit immature.

Instead I have been thinking even more about how my studio can take advantage of computing to tell the world (in a mature fashion :) about what they have to offer. And as our small group discussed this topic yesterday, I considered the constraints that any local community based business operates under (fiscal, personnel, background and experiences far from the computing arena). Many of the people and businesses I have spoken about here or in my magazine column Percolations (appearing quarterly in the ACM Inroads Magazine) are medium to large organizations that can draw in one way or another upon a set of resources not available to small but equally important businesses.

Some creative thinking is in order here about the role computing can play, because long term self-sustaining methods and strategies are in order. There are many really valuable small businesses out there engaged in wonderful society enhancing activities. They have no desire to grow larger or more impersonal. This is going to take some thinking...

No comments:

Post a Comment