I have been thinking about the content of my last post which discussed how social media data will change how small business runs. (See previous Blogpost) link here The reason? With increase technology that is happening around us, there will clearly be efficiencies in how things get done, but there will also be changes to how we interact as business professionals. The advent of social media is about create tons of key content, connecting people more effortlessly, and giving you key modalities to share information. While this is all very good and interesting, the rise of nanocapitalism in my opinion finds its foundation in something much deeper.
In my previous corporate lives, I spent the majority of my time working to help large organizations find reasons to do things they didn't want to do. Whether I was working in the lab developing toilet bowl cleaners, managing partnerships at a high level to connect people who needed technology or simply finding new ideas that could be applied to the business to create ROI, the core of those efforts was about people, culture and change. So while all the tools and methods involved in social media create astounding ways to communicate, tools are just that tools. They are merely a means to an end.
Are they powerful? Absolutely! Why? Because as I often write here, with my companies' product, I am able to learn about the consumer behavior on just about any topic in a very short period of time for little to no money from my dining room table (literally). NetBase has an offering that is changing the way you filter and understand social media data. What I see countless times within customers is always the same. It is about people, it is about application of that technology and almost always it is about cultural change. You can sell anything to anyone (insert ice to eskimos analogy here!) but once they have the tools you need to help them see how it fits the structure.
This brings me back to my point (sorry for rambling a bit). Nanocapitalism is a concept that is about the application of tools to a process of doing business that can lead to a "new world order". And from a competitive perspective, changes to the landscape mean changes in who is successful. We say giants can't fail. I believe one day the rise and fall of groupon will be a great case study, but that is for another day.
Nanocapitalism my friends is not only going to be about the efficiency created by new tools. It is not only going to be about the costs you can save in your business. It is about the corporate culture of one. It is about the confidence it will bring to the small business owner to focus on what they are good at and not feel compelled to hire others in a formal way to run things. The cross section of great technology, connectivity and small business corporate culture to create an acceleration of what's possible to achieve.
I will use dear sister as an example of the rise of nanocapitalism. Her efforts as a sole proprietor in her photography business is what I consider the perfect example of someone who is going to kick some serious tail in a nanocapitalistic society. Let's start with her website (link here). You go there and see a great example of her storefront. Anyone can do this. She has done a great job of giving you insight in to how she runs her shop. Her photos will strike you as different (she shoots tons of weddings, people, food and I guess whatever). Next, Let's take a look at her ability to market herself online (2nd generation of ecommerce) (her facebook page). Again, beyond her storefront, she has done a great job of "sharing" her work with others. She also has a blog (blog link here). Again, she canvasses using freely avaiable tools to connect you not only with the images she shoots but also enable references on facebook to "like" her and through her blog gives perspective on what she is shooting and why. My sister is a great example of a small business owner who is leveraging social media to build her brand. She is missing doing market research on her very craft however (tee hee...her brothers' job and passion).
Most would say, wow, that is nanocapitalism. Look at the small proprietor building her business using social media tools. In my opinon, it is not. I grew up with my sister (duh). One of the reasons she has always been an inspiration to me and someone who has taught me much about how to embrace differences in people's path in life is because of her ability to leverage her strengths (like we all have) to get where she is today. She is a potential model for nanocapitalism because of the things she is doing that are not mentioned above.
She hires no marketer because she has the tools. She is constantly mentioning new social apps to me like pinster that are driving connectivity between what people want to what she has. No market research needed. She shared with me the tools she is implementing to connect to her bookkeeper who works for her on a part time basis. She is part of a network of expert photographers that "validate" her work because she is part of the group. She partners with other photographers to round out her resource needs in running her business. The list goes on an on.
She is a nanocapitalist because the tools are giving her the confidence and path to have a networked corporate culture. I always tell her she has two paths towards expansion: bring in more people or do such a great job she can charge a hell of a lot more for what she does. I often believe to leverage her own skills the second would be better. Nanocapitalism gives her the choice. Why? Because the second path is possible because that method can be attained with the help of the tools she uses. When her business gets too big for her to take the time she can find other "experts" to spend a portion of their time helping her. She can "partner" for pieces of their time to build her brand bigger without taking on any overhead whatsoever. And thus her corporate culture can play to her strengths and desires and give her options. Hell, people can pay her for a piece of her time.
Imagine a time when her blog writer who she pays a small fraction to do work knows of a bloggers conference (I made it up) that needs a photographer for two days. Because her marketing efforts have allowed to focus on creatively building her expertise and brand she may get that opportunity and be able to charge 3X versus if she spent all her time having to be the expert. But wait there's more! Because she uses nanocapitalistic principles, her ROI on this work is 50% higher because her overhead will be lower.
This process could help the US win in its innovation effort because the free market is getting flipped on its head. Gone will be the days that size and scale are needed to really grow a business. Is it better to have your own business that has $50 million in sales with a 10% profit margin or a business that has $10million in sales with an 50% profit margin. Oh yeah, the $50 million dollar company has 50 people working for it, while the $10 million has 3. The point is this...small businesses are going to get the opportunity to think about the American dream differently. We are all overworked, overtired, and in my opinion OVERCORPORATE CULTURED to death. To have control, make the same and perhaps have more time for yourself is becoming the American dream.
Social media has shifted the balance of power from B2C to C2B. The consumers have the power and are taking it back from the corporations. In the coming years, I predict that new brands will not be made but purchased because it is cheaper to Buy than Make. The second is people's financial gain could grow if they can leverage others with technology as a means to enable it to increase their profit margins. The term MEO can move from a narcissistic statement about our own need to be heard and into a place that means I run my business with quiet confidence.
And my sister...she has the frustrating tendency to take the predictions or advice I give her as I have for years about how great she is and why her decisions are so good and attribute to someone else later.
I figured I would go on record publicly to predict this. She is a model of nanocapitalism and her desire to maintain control of how she does things AND leverage others to scale her business in a smart way will lead to a day where her ability to do the same work for higher fees is the reason she will succeed. Her mindset is the model of small business and her ability to conquer the fears many of us have in starting are own thing is something that requires some thought.
I just hope she doesn't charge her brother too much to get a better headshot.