At a border between countries, a customs officer stops a truck driver. She suspects he's smuggling something. She checks the truck top to bottom. She gets the dogs to sniff around. She opens all the cargo.
She finds nothing.
Every week, the same truck driver drives a truck through the border. Every week, the customs officer goes through the same routine. And every week, she finds nothing. Eventually, it's time for her to retire. As she clocks off from the last shift of her career, the truck driver pulls up.
"Please," she says. "I know you've been smuggling something in the trucks. How did you do it?"
And because she's no longer a customs officer, and the truck driver has nothing to lose, he tells her. "I wasn't smuggling anything in the trucks. I was smuggling trucks."
Sometimes, you get so used to seeing things one way, you can't spot something new even when it's right in front of you. Obvious opportunities are easy to miss. In fact, you might be missing one right now.
It's obvious, really
Look at your customers. Look closely at how they back up their data. It's an obvious part of business. It's so obvious, your customers don't need you to tell them about it. They're already doing it themselves.
You probably know which of your large customers are backing up their data. You're probably helping them do it in the cloud. And as for your smaller customers, well, they must be taking care of it themselves.
The thing is, small businesses can grow fast. And when things are going great, and business is booming, a back-up plan can be the last thing on your customers' minds. They can miss the obvious.
So make sure you don't miss it, too. You've got an opportunity to back up your customers' data in the cloud, and prevent disaster in their businesses. Small businesses need a back-up plan like any other. One small business that found that out the hard way was the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
A cloud back-up plan
In August 2016, the worst storm since Hurricane Sandy left the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank's offices and warehouse under four feet of water. Office equipment, digital systems, as well as one million pounds of food were lost.
This is a business that provides a back-up plan for people who might not be able to get a decent meal. And yet it missed the obvious. It didn't have a back-up plan for its own digital records.
But there is a happy ending. This disaster was enough to get the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to do something it now knows was obvious the whole time. "We're positioned now so that if another disaster happens, we'll deal with it and continue to operate," says Mike Manning, the food bank's President and CEO. The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank started backing up its data in the cloud, with Azure. And now: "We're light years ahead of where we were. The cloud has been a godsend."
You can read the food bank's full story here. Share it with your smaller customers - it might be just what they need to realise they're missing the obvious. And if you want to help them build their back-up plans around the cloud, grab the opportunity with Microsoft and Azure by becoming a cloud partner. Find out how, here.