The Perfect Storm
Manifesto: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer
This is ours.
Our intention is to help golf courses, private clubs and small businesses implement modern, cloud-based technologies to make data-driven decisions, operate efficiently and drive new revenue.
Our motive for doing this is a belief in small business. We believe that small businesses are the foundation of the economy. We believe in the power of the golf industry to be a positive influence on America’s well-being. We want to live in a world where golf courses, private clubs and small businesses compete on a level playing field with their big-business competitors.
Our view is that a series of new technologies, mixed with economic influences, have created a market dynamic where big businesses have had the flexibility to adopt new technologies while small businesses have not.
As cloud technologies have emerged, their implementation has become a key competitive advantage for businesses. Since the cloud went mainstream in 2009, bigger companies have been investing in technologies that help them gain competitive advantage and drive profits. They then invest those profits in even more technology, widening the technological gap further with every iteration.
The Perfect Storm
The root of the problem for courses, clubs and other small businesses started with the 2008 financial crisis.
Golf courses had begun to feel the pain of declining rounds in the mid-2000’s, but the Great Recession sent the industry in a tailspin. This timeline mirrors the challenges faced by almost all small businesses in America since the 2008 crisis. The story is the same; amidst declining revenues, small businesses have been forced to cut expenses and payroll to survive.
While small businesses were tightening their belts, new technologies were emerging. Adopting these technologies required investments of time and money. This wasn’t in the cards for most small firms.
As Dropbox and Netflix signed massive agreements with Amazon Web Services in 2009, going all-in on cloud computing, small businesses were doing well to keep Windows 2000 computers booting up each day. Unfortunately, there was more trouble to come.
2009 has also been termed “The Year of Facebook”. In that year, Facebook added more than 60 million U.S. users and officially became mainstream. Of course, we now know this was only the first domino to fall. A decade-long pattern of new platforms ensued. With each new platform, American’s attention spans were fragmented across yet another media channel.
These changes to the media landscape forced businesses to change their marketing tactics and the ways they communicated with customers.
Think back a decade or two. Marketing a small business was straight-forward. You hung your shingle on the street, put your number and address in the phone book, then relied on a small group of channels to amplify your message – Radio, Television, Direct Mail and Print Advertising. If business was a little slow, maybe you’d take out a ¼ page in the sports section to advertise a weekday special. The ad might cost a couple thousand dollars, and the newspaper would design it from scratch. The whole process might take an hour. That newspaper landed on 80% of the doorsteps, meaning that the message was delivered to most customers.
Then, social media came along. Customers were glued to these new platforms. They could connect with friends, read the news and watch TV – all in one place! Best of all, it was FREE for businesses to communicate with customers there!
Free Advertising! Social media was a godsend, right?
Nope. Social media brought its own challenges to the table.
First, these new platforms meant one thing - fragmented attention. The newspaper used to reach 80% of the market. Then, all of sudden, it only reached 20%. The other 60% of customer’s attention was now spread across different channels - Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit and a slew of others. To reach them all, businesses had to have a presence on every one. While this wasn’t expensive in terms of advertising dollars, the costs were astronomical in terms of time - a resource in short supply.
Remember when putting an ad out took an hour a month? Today, a business owner needs to spend an hour a day just to keep up with one or two social media channels. They also must invest more time keeping up with other “free” marketing tools like websites, online stores, booking engines and email marketing. And in addition to marketing and communication duties, graphic designer has been added to their list of job duties.
A business used to be able to reach 80% of a market with a couple thousand dollars and an hour’s time. Today, it might cost only a couple hundred dollars, but it requires dozens of hours of time. Few small businesses can afford a marketing expert to handle this. So, most small businesses don’t effectively use these new channels, they don’t reach as many customers as they need to, and revenue suffers. The spiral continues.
This was the perfect storm. New technologies demanded businesses invest new time and energy to keep up, but economic factors made it impossible to do so.
Technological Competitive Advantage
Examples of the technological gap between small and large businesses are everywhere you look. Starbucks implemented cloud systems to better communicate with guests and deliver a modern experience. Walmart implemented cloud systems to develop an integrated supply chain to keep prices low. Look around your town. Does your local Walmart have more cars in its parking lot than the entirety of Main Street? Does the Starbucks have a line of cars in the driveway while the local coffee shop sits deserted?
Cloud technologies are the primary reason these companies have thrived. It is also the primary reason that small businesses have difficulty competing with them.
Our mission is to level the technological playing field. We offer a variety of software and services, but they all have one thing in common – they all involve our team of experts helping small businesses leverage modern technology.
Sometimes we help with Information Technology, by helping operators understand what systems and tools are available, and then implementing them effectively.
Sometimes we help with data management, by providing the cloud know-how to aggregate data, utilize business intelligence tools, machine learning, and AI.
Sometimes we help with advertising, by providing digital experts to execute campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Google.
Sometimes we help with communication, by putting an expert in charge of social media, websites and email systems.
In each circumstance, we act as an extension of the team. We are digital experts here to help get golf courses, private clubs and small businesses back on equal footing. We put the technologies that Starbucks, Walmart, and Amazon have used within the reach of every small business in America.
We are the cloud marketing and technology experts. We are here to level the playing field. We are Metolius.