Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Getting the Best out of Regional Living - Using the On-line World

Note to reader: I had some photos to go with this story, but blogger is not uploading them. So I am running without photos rather than hold the story up.

This post continues the theme - getting the best out of Regional Living - begun with our Wagga Wagga case study. Our focus there was the wide range of things to be found within a relatively short driving distance, comparing this to Sydney. Now we look at the use of the on-line world.

We have already done one case study here, looking at the life and work of Paul Budde, servicing a global market from a regional base.

Standard of Telecommunications Facilities

Just as the standard of the telecommunications infrastructure - especially access to broad band - varies within Australia's metro cities from extremely good to awful - so it does in Regional Australia.

The great majority of people living in Regional Australia have access to telecommunications as good if not better than the metro average. But there are areas where telecoms is problematic. If you would like to see an entertaining case of the issues that can be involved visit Ochre Archives here. So if you are thinking about a move to a particular area, do investigate.

Keeping in Professional Touch

It used to be the case that living in Regional Australia could involve a degree of professional isolation. This is no longer the case since so much material is now on line. This where I find blogs to be especially useful because they give me instant access to a range of global resources and commentary. You do not need to be a blogger yourself just to visit, although once you start you may wish to.

The blogosphere is crowded, with over 57 million blogs world wide still growing at 75,000 per week. However, most of these are unlikely to be of interest to you. My own experience has been that it took me about two months to narrow down to a must read and a regular check list.

In addition, there are a number of conventional web sites that provide solid information again varying from subject area to subject area, while most business associations and professional bodies provide special on-line resources intended to assist their regional members.

In addition, there are an increasing number of international on-line professional networking systems that you can use for both professional and business purposes. Some like Linkedin are free, others have a small charge.

Of course, you will need personal interaction outside you business or professional environment.

My experience has been that you will actually meet a broader range of people in Regional Australia than in the metro areas simply because numbers are less. I really miss this since we moved to Sydney. So that's a plus.

But I would also build into your plans and family or business budget a deliberate allowance for trips to other places and especially the metro centres. We all need breaks, and a visit to a metro centre can be real fun, so much more fun because as a visitor you see and do things lost to those that live there because of the hurly burly of their daily round.

On-line Business

Regional businesses big and small do service regional, national and global markets using the power of the internet.

I have already mentioned the case of Paul Budde. Another example is the global Petals florist network established in and still operated from Armidale.

Not Just a Copy Shop provides a more regional example. I have spoken of Des Walsh's Thinking Home Business blog (another example of a regional business) before and will do so again in a moment. For the moment, Des nominated Not Just a Copy Shop in response to our call for examples of small business blogs in Regional Australia.

Located in Tweed Heads on the New South Wales/Queensland border, the business is a little different in that it began servicing local copying needs. Then it found that it was starting to get orders for some services from hundreds of kilometres away, using emil to communicate with clients. Now it has moved to the next stage, creating a blog to build communications with a broader customer base looking especially at needs across Regional Australia.

These cases are all different. A common theme is the way in which they are using on-line communications to achieve business objectives.

I am a great supporter of the use of on-line systems for business purposes in Regional Australia. But I also know that you must do your homework. When Bobbi Ballas and Scott Williams set up Petals, Bobbi was a florist, Scott knew a lot about computers. Both had already worked in a business environment, in fact for my then company. So they had solid knowledge base from which to work.

There is no better place to start your homework than Des's blog since he is an expert in the on-line world.

1 comment:

Jim Belshaw said...

FC, I wasn't sure whether to let this comment come through but, hey, I don't object to the promotion of any regional business!