Technology can be the determining factor any business, but especially for small businesses where budgets are much tighter and much can be gained from cost savings or making processes more efficient. Phil Simon calls small companies who know how to use technology to their benefit “The New Small”. In his book, The New Small: How a New Breed of Small Businesses Is Harnessing the Power of Emerging Technologies, Phil not only discusses how small businesses can use technology as a competitive advantage, he shows you how companies are already doing it (and are adopting new technologies much faster than larger companies). Almost every chapter includes a case study on how an actual small business is using (and has used) technology to build their company and expand further than they thought possible.
While the book is full of examples of The New Small companies using technology as a competitive advantage, my favorite example is Chaotic Moon Studios, which helps organizations with their mobile strategies and development. Chaotic Moon is not only interesting from their use of technology (which you would expect from a development company), but also in their use of technology to improve their business model. The term mobility brings to mind smartphones, but Chaotic Moon also helps companies re-publish content and applications across different platforms (for example, from the Microsoft XBox to the Wii). Not only do they help develop “mobile” applications, they also will handle development, marketing and distribution for a share of the revenue if they feel it has a viable market. They helped News Corp. develop the first ever fully digital daily publication with The Daily iPad application. Using technology as a competitive advantage is at the heart of Chaotic Moon’s business model (even technology companies can find new ways to use technology competitively).
My overall thoughts:
Pros: The New Small is a pretty easy read. Each chapter covers a topic, starting out with an overview and includes a case study from an actual small business, closing with a summary of main points. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur (the target audience), this book does a great job of explaining and showing how small businesses are using technology as a business strategy, as well as giving ideas of how technology can be used for any business (who is willing to try). Even for those with more technology experience, all the case studies in the book are helpful for spawning new ideas or using to show the value of technology to clients or management.
Cons: As someone who is very connected to new technologies and how companies are using them, the main themes of this book were nothing new (but they may be for less technological folks). The structure of the book can be a bit difficult to read at times (in the digital Kindle version), since some of the footnotes run into the content and the headings don’t stand out very well. Since the book is about The News Small, the sentence structure “The New Small knows…” was a bit overused and got a bit tiring to read after awhile.
Verdict: If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur who is curious about how technology can be used, not only for cost savings and efficiency, but also as a competitive advantage, then I recommend taking a look at The New Small. Unlike many books which just explain how small businesses should be doing something, Phil uses a ton of examples of actual small businesses who are doing exactly what he’s talking about in the book. The proof is in the pudding, and Phil’s book is full of proof. As an easy read, with good explanations and summaries, Phil makes it easy to understand the advantages of technologies so that anyone can figure out ways to apply them to their own organization.
If you’ve read this book, what do you think?
NOTE: All links above to Amazon are affiliate links. I was sent a free digital copy of the book and asked if I would review it. As with any review I do, this is my honest opinion. If you feel differently after reading this book, please share your thoughts in the comments. Thank you for reading!