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Two important questions arise when we talk about knowledge management. First, what does it mean? Second, how important is it to small business?
What is Knowledge Management?
There are a variety of definitions for Knowledge Management (KM). According to Ron Young, it is “the discipline of enabling individuals, teams and entire organizations to collectively and systematically create, share and apply knowledge to better achieve their objectives.” Knowledge management includes information in computers databases, filing systems and the minds of employees. It is important to promote a KM culture in your organization.
How is It Important to Small Business?
Knowledge Management is equally as important for small business as it is for larger corporations. There are no differences in preserving knowledge between a big company and a small one. Unfortunately, some small business owners prefer to act with a “wait and see” position regarding knowledge management. It is often a case of “Let the rich, big boys test the waters and when they have validated that it’s worthy to all businesses, then we’ll act.” In the meantime, they continue in the way they know best: losing vital knowledge capital and competitive advantage daily.
In my personal experiences with knowledge management within small business, the process is more crucial because small companies do not have the market leverage, inertia and resources that big companies have. In any size company, retention of intellectual capital is important. When a larger company loses an employee, only one small segment of the information is lost. On the contrary, when an employee leaves a small company, it is more likely that a larger amount of crucial information will be taken away. This may cause a significant impact on the business.
What steps will you take to secure knowledge within your business?