Small Business School
Look for inspiration within your industry
Small Business School Small Business Schoolupdated: 05/02/2005 Small Business School|Small Business School
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Pride in being an American and being able to say that this was "Made in America".
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Our web sites can be more than product information centers. We can talk about first principles. We can talk about what makes this country great and what attitudes and behaviors could make each of us, individually, "great" as well.

Is there any reason why, each of us in our own way, should not aspire to do great things in our lifetime?

Background: So what is greatness? In these days, is it just being honest? Is it just be just being a good person? ... not being lazy? Or, is it something more? Of course, we believe it is something more. Living intentionally. Seeking higher ground, deeper understandings, new insights. We find many, many people who live life just this way. And we also believe, we all need to come out from the background. We need to be public in our declarations, our missions and visions for a better future. And today, with the power of the Internet finally coming of age, each of our web sites can be a real-time reflection of our business, our ideals, goals and highest aspirations. Why not?

As a technology, the web is much more than most people imagined. Ultimately, your web site can become a pivot point, a dynamic hub for instant communications. Sure, our first concern is to serve our current customers better and to focus on on who would make good customers for our future. That is one of our goals with this site!

Yet, the next step is to look inside ourselves and see what is really important... what drives us... what it is that makes life meaningful, and then share those insights as well.

And, we believe there is a role for everybody in your business within your web enterprise.

We'll show you what we are doing. We'll take you behind the scenes so you can see how this site works. There are special episodes of the show that demonstrate ways to use EXTRANETS and INTRANETS strategically. Our web architect is setting up this site so you can use most of the capabilities within the site for testing and even for your own unique purposes.

Our web architect's team is also open to help a few of you directly; just drop me a note.

Globalization is real, yet your local community is really real. Your web site becomes your local community with a doorway to like-minded people throughout the world. The convergence of broadcasting, communications, information, media, distribution, and education make almost anything possible. We are all being stretched and pulled in a thousand directions at the same time. The power of our creativity is being taxed to the maximum. And, we are all being tacitly challenged to re-examine the basic questions about value, business and life.

It is a golden time to be alive!

Our commitment: Small Business School is a partnership of small and growing businesses and some of the largest corporations in America. We all have diverse strengths and interests. Yet there is a common element that we share — we all want to give people the tools, the ideas, and the inspiration to succeed in their business and to make the world a better place.

Step 1. A website that anybody in your business can help shape (without becoming geeks).

There are many very inexpensive options. Drop me a note and I'll give you three immediately. We work with many small businesses on our productions and web site. Several tools that we use could help small businesses develop a net presence virtually overnight. Once you have a web presence that you control, you'll have joined the future. And then, at that point, we especially encourage you to share your ideas and comments.

Step 2. Secure your web environment. There are lots of nasty people out there and you have security systems for everything else. You need to secure the virtual entrance into your business as well. There is an entire episode of the show about this requirement. It is no long one of those things "I need-to-do." It is a now a requirement (or you can expect real trouble).

Step 3. Make it a dynamic as your business. Although many episodes of the show discuss web applications, the show entitled, E-culture: What is it and how do I get one? is uniquely about how people use their web sites as both a strategic and tactical tool.

We believe we are all heading in this direction:

  • Daily-weekly-monthly Email. It is must be Invited Email. We send weekly email to all viewers who request it -- just one-paragraph, an overview of broadcast of our show by their PBS-member station their hometown. All of us will be sending more and more invited email.

    Uninvited email is another issue. There is a place for email campagins to a select community of interest where you have a real "opt-out" and real contact information and real return addresses. We will all try to strike a balance between email campaigns to our various communities of interest and sending spam. When you feel like you are sending spam, you are sending spam. Eventually we will all have spam filters that will block most spam at the host servers.

  • Streaming video, virtual tours and introductions to people within your business. For us, it is every episode from beginning-to-end and within just a question-answer (Q&A) array, 1000s of video clips with a natural language query.
  • Online, dynamically-originated collaboration based on key words / industry type and "open-to-receive" from every page on our site.
  • Pervasive access via PDA, cell phone and telephone (originating from the collaboration events).
  • Videophone (originating from online telephone) on the web.
  • Videoconferencing from the web site.
  • Virtual meeting center (one-to-one).
  • Virtual meeting center (many-to-many).
  • Profiles upon profiles of the best insights owned and controlled by the source of the insight or information. For you, it might be your customer's testimony and praise. For us, it is the small business insights from the people we've interviewed plus insights from our visitors and members of this web site.
  • Self-sustaining and renewing database of key data about your business and product lines. For us it is the critical ratios by industry and geography so you can see how you are doing within your industry type.

This period in time has actually been long-awaited; we talked about it as graduate students at Boston University and MIT (when the Media Lab was the Machine Architecture Group). But at that time (1976-1980), we did not fully grasp, and I still do not think anybody has really grasped, how these new models are so fundamentally challenging our worldviews and self image. In our own special way, we will examine these questions (and many people's answers) within this site!

You are invited to join us on our search for small businesses and their owners with a spark of greatness, both here in the USA and throughout the world.

- Bruce Camber, Executive producer

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