Technology and the Small Business
The use of technology proliferates daily life.
Finding a way to harness technology in a way that both makes sense for your business and doesn’t overwhelm the personalities involved is tricky. The world of apps alone is a minefield of wasted time and useless information.
Discerning how to best harness technology requires a sincere evaluation of both your current business and the goals you have for the future of your business. Often that is best done by someone who isn’t intimately connected with your daily operations. Those intrinsically tied to your business have a vested interest in protecting their comfort and familiarity with daily practices and – honestly – most people are not interested in change. What’s interesting about that perspective is that the change can often simplify and streamline daily tasks, resulting in a more stress-free environment for everyone.
When analyzing any business, I start with the basic components of office administration. Small Business Bonfire organizes their suggested “areas for improvements in technology” in a similar fashion.
- Accounting and Financing
- Payroll and Human Resources
- Sales, Orders, and Customer Management and Tracking
- Database Management
I like the Small Business Bonfire article “How to Choose Small Business Technology.” Like me, they suggest keeping in mind some very specific things when purchasing or upgrading technology:
- How will the products grow with the business. In an ever-changing technology landscape, we don’t want to be caught purchasing something that’s already obsolete or close to it
- How will the employees and – possibly – the customers learn and interact with the technology? If half of your employees or customers don’t have smart phones, I would be unwise to use smart phone technology.
- How will your products be supported? We cannot be good at everything and we certainly need to use technology to enhance our efforts. It is critical to find someone who can see what your business needs, provide and support it, and suggest upgrades when the time is right. We know technology is improving every day, and we want to keep up with it without taking time away from product development and customer acquisition and retention efforts.
- How will your technology be affected by hardware failures? Back-up failures? Crashes? Pirates? Make certain your expert creates a recovery plan in case of disaster and – when you are completely dependent on technology – prepares a Business Impact Analysis.
- How will you stick with purchasing what you need rather than what you may want? What makes the most sense for the existing habits of your management team, your sales team, and other employees?
I spent several weeks working with a client recently so that his screens and device function worked the same no matter which of his four devices he chose to use. I learned a lot before we finally achieved success and I heaar he doesn’t often take my name in vain!