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Part 4. Death, Taxes, and Buzzwords

This is part 4 in a 5 part series: Big Picture Ideas for Small Businesses.

Have you ever heard sentences like these?

Web 2.0 and Business 2.0 centric New Media paradigm-shifting into the cloud!

Or perhaps…

Use SaaS to promote organic growth and synergy in a variety of verticals!

Odds are, if you do business on the web, you’ve heard something to that effect. The language of the internet is a lot like 7-year-old’s playing soccer; commentator’s swarm around buzzwords, beating them to death and repeatedly redefining them in the process.

But it’s certainly not all bad.

Buzzwords provide a level of expectation in consumers that can be leveraged in your marketing. When taken with a grain of salt, they are a fancy way of packaging emerging trends. The burden lies on those in the industry to figure out what’s worth their time and what isn’t. It seems alarmingly simple, but discovering and ultimately delivering a product or service that your business does well is the key to turning chatter into effective revenue generation.

We in the hosting industry have been steeped in buzzwords for years. When the industry was just beginning, Private Hosting and Shared Hosting were really the only terms available. Since most businesses ran their own server’s internally, outsourcing the management of your company’s server was, justifiably, scary. From a marketing perspective “Private Server” is a perfect fit. The word associates the concept of business, enterprise, privacy, confidentiality, and exclusivity to an otherwise standard concept. Thus, ‘Private’ Hosting, in an industry just beginning to get its bearings, is an example of clever buzzword utilization.

Private Hosting became Dedicated Hosting, which in turn ushered in a tiered series of solutions, particularly when virtualization began to make serious headway into the hosting industry. VPS, VDS, and the cloud are the new “private” and are continuing to redefine our business daily. Cloud is the latest buzzword that has dominated the landscape, bringing with it numerous tech behemoths from outside of the hosting industry and shaking up a lot of the establishment in the process. With Rackspace, Amazon, and Microsoft bringing cloud infrastructure and corresponding API’s to the mix, the webhosting industry is looking at a very competitive next couple of years as these technologies mature. However, at the end of the day, the definition of the platform is still unclear and hearing the word ‘cloud’ almost always starts a chorus of rolling eyes.

So what does this all have to do with you, who may or may not be in the webhosting business?

Ignoring chatter isn’t helpful, in fact defiantly rejecting an industry trend – even if it is just fluff – can keep you out of the loop and at a serious disadvantage. The trick for many small businesses is to be a fast follower, allowing larger competitors to assume the R&D risk and further develop on the initial innovation.

Buzzwords are nothing more than an indicator. They can indicate progress or they can indicate waste, but at the end of the day any information that helps you make money is good information.

Sometimes, people jump on the bandwagon for a reason.

Stay tuned for our final segment, Be Open, soon!

Photo by Gavin Llewellyn

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