Digital guru warns bosses to learn the online basics – no matter their age

    BUSINESSES need to adapt to the smartphone generation or face being left behind, a Tunbridge Wells based consultant has warned.

    Speaking at The Old Fire Station in Tonbridge to an audience of local firms, David Taylor said he sees too much resistance to the changing communication landscape at the top of small and medium businesses.

    Discussing the ‘baby-boomer’ generation [aged 53-71], he said: “About half of them are very much of the attitude: ‘I hate the modern world. I hate people taking pictures of their dinner. I hate the telly because the camera doesn’t stay in the same place for more than five seconds. I hate using phones. I hate the internet, I hate it all. I wish it would go away.’ Well sorry it’s not going to go away.

    “The problem is a huge proportion of business owners in the UK fall into that category and their business are at danger of going bust because they are essentially saying ‘I can’t compete in the modern world.’”

    His thoughts are backed up by a recent study from Microsoft, which found that 46 per cent of business managers in the UK don’t believe their senior leadership is willing to make the necessary digital transformations.

    Conversely, the other half of baby-boomers have embraced social media and are on Facebook which, Mr Taylor argued, shows ‘it is all about mind-set’.

    “Being too old to use social media is a lie. It’s about your ability and desire to learn,” he said, pointing to 70-year-old Donald Trump’s successful use of Twitter as a prime example.

    Although he did advise caution when jumping into the world of social media, since many companies rush onto the digital scene without a long term plan of the regular content they can upload.

    “Social media is a stage, you don’t want to go on in desperation and have nothing to say.

    “You have to think: ‘How does my business look on a smartphone?’

    “In terms of actual content, most small businesses’ online profiles are like a small muddy puddle on the High Street – but they need to be like Bewl Water.”

    But rather than being intimidated by the vast digital universe, he encouraged business owners to explore the wealth of free online tutorials on using social media commercially before hiring any specialists, again emphasising the importance of a ‘willingness to learn’.