The ingenuity of small business owners never ceases to amaze us. It takes bravery to start a company from scratch, and creativity to craft a unique business model. This creativity extends to how they employ technology.
Last November, we were a Start Up Week sponsor in one of our favorite Prairie Land communities: Lincoln, Nebraska. We moderated a panel discussion featuring two local business owners who have combined a love of their respective crafts with the innovation technology offers:
- Porridge Papers makes handmade paper products that are way beyond the typical stationary and business card products. (Think bacon-scented notebooks.)
- Quantified Ag makes a sort of wearable activity tracker for cattle health management. (Think Fitbit® for Cows)
Like many businesses, Porridge Papers was born out of a childhood fascination. Founder Christopher James was a young boy when he bought a papermaking kit at a local art supply store. He was instantly hooked. James has turned this childhood experience into a business that is a beloved hallmark of the community.
With the proliferation of the Internet, Porridge Papers realized that the new frontier of Social Media could help amplify the business. A highly visual company, Porridge Papers documented the process of creating paper in the mill with photos and videos, cultivating wide interest on its social channels. Companies like Porridge Papers use online communities to tell their business story and illustrate the art of their trade, relying on service providers and the Internet to connect with those in their community and beyond.
Quantified Ag provides tags and software to monitor cattle health. With more than 29 million beef cattle in the U.S., Quantified Ag set out to help cattle farmers identify the individual members of their herds without having to personally inspect each and every animal. The company developed an innovative solution using sensors and software to wirelessly detect elements within cattle that are typically only observed by humans. Their core business model puts technology at the forefront of how they create, deliver, and improve their business product, relying on a constant flow of data and information. It’s essential to the service they provide their customers. Being able to connect the cattle’s health to the database at their hub and communicate health alerts to their customers means their Internet connection is critical. Ultimately, they are helping farmers prevent the spread of disease, saving money, time and animal life. Plus, it’s just darn right cool.
No matter how big or small your company may be, it’s important to remember that every business has different needs and applications when it comes to technology. Some use it primarily for expanding their reach to customers and fans, while for others the Internet is the backbone of how they facilitate the fast flow of data, harnessing this power for the benefit of customers.
We love the discovery of how small business owners use technology. The creativity and innovation of entrepreneurs keeps us motivated to push for better solutions and ongoing improvements. Learn more about what our services can do for you here.