Reliable broadband vital to success of rural businesses

Jane Binnion.
Jane Binnion.
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I’m typing this on the train on the way back from an amazing 
Federation of Small Businesses conference.

It’s been a long and wonderful weekend with Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and George Osborne all addressing the conference – anyone would think there was an election looming.

At the conference I found myself sitting behind two business men in their 60s who were discussing how they use Pinterest and Instagram, both platforms that are all about visual images

I was chuffed to have the opportunity to ask Ed about training our young people to fill the digi-skills gap and his response was positive and thoughtful.

One of the big issues that was raised by members is the unresolved matter of unreliable broadband, which is still hindering UK’s small businesses, particularly those in the rural areas.

This is leaving so many small businesses at a real disadvantage and unable to compete with larger companies.

If we are not careful, rural businesses will be forced to move into town, which will have a seriously negative effect on rural communities.

We can only hope that the next Government gives this some proper attention.

On the social media front, lots of people have been talking to me about Pinterest this week.

This fun platform of online pin boards is really being taken on board by businesses now.

At the conference I found myself sitting behind two business men in their 60s who were discussing how they use Pinterest and Instagram, both platforms that are all about visual images.

Then I met a great woman who runs Johnson’s Wool in Blackpool and she told me all about Yarn Bombing and Guerilla Knitting.

This is a wonderful practice of people crocheting and knitting things, from tree decorations to complete covers for benches, or a cover that makes a bollard look like a cactus, just to brighten up our streets and make people smile.

Susanne has a Pinterest board full of Yarn Bombing images from around the world.

It’s well worth taking a look.

It’s so interesting to see how businesses are adapting to the new media, but we can see how this is necessary when we hear statistics like “74 per cent of consumers rely on social media to influence their purchasing decisions” and “the average smart phone user checks Facebook 14 times a day.”

Those businesses that are still saying social media is a fad may need to think again.

Have a great week and stay safe online