Where are there real problems to solve?

“Aren’t There Real Problems To Solve?” 

I have always spent a lot of my time in small or midsize companies (10 to 200 employees), and I can assure you the answer is ABSOLUTELY. 

These are hard working people who are in a different world than most of us. They don’t facebook, twitter, or IM at work. But they are unbelieveably busy trying to get things done while depending upon software and systems that most of us here would laugh at. 

Many of them don’t have time to get to all their emails and voice mails. They have to make snap decisions all day long without enough information because their software just doesn’t give them what they need easily enough. They have constant problems with interpersonal communication, instruction, and understanding. 

Just a sample of what I’ve witnessed in the past 3 weeks: 

- We need multiple “ship to” addresses for this institutional customer. The software doesn’t support it. 

- The exchange server is down. 

- We need multiple prices for the same item, depending on the scenario. The shopping cart won’t allow it. 

- 300 “smart part numbers” were configured incorrectly because no one gave Jane the correct Vendor Codes last week. But now, we have orders, inventory, and history for those items, so the software won’t let us change or delete them. 

- The exchange server is down. 

- No one remembered to reset the warehouse server last night, so everything came in today with the wrong date. 

- The new stockroom printer doesn’t support HP PCL, so the bar code labels are all wrong. 

- We think that $90,000 order acknowledgement from XYZ Company was deleted by the spam filter, but we’re not sure. 

- There was a bad pointer in the UPS data base last Tuesday, so 72 packages all went to the same customer in Duluth. 

- The wrong 800 number is being printed on our invoices. Our customers are calling a sex hotline. 

- The exchange server is down. 

These are not jokes. I see them all the time. And while we regale all the cool stuff WE are doing, I can honestly say that the situation in many small businesses hasn’t improved all that much. And there are 7 million of them. They need help. 

The good news? This is a fantastic opportunity for those with our skills and technology. 

Yes, there are plenty of real problems to solve. Stay tuned.