There’s no doubt that technology helps your business grow. No business these days can survive unless it has a serious amount of technology at its back. Whether it’s simplifying accounting with a cloud-based solution or having automatic backup solutions, tech can help us in a myriad of different ways.
Unfortunately, technology can often be confusing and lead to a disorganized business if we’re not careful.
We can make a lot of progress and grow our businesses by adopting different kinds of business technology. Whether it’s a laptop computer or different software productivity tools, every piece of technology has a purpose. However, it also requires maintenance, often requires training, and there may be drawbacks or potential issues that we need to be aware of. If we don’t take these issues seriously, then it can create a number of problems in the future.
So in this post, we’ll be looking at a couple of ways to help you facilitate growth as a small business by being smarter about how you use your technology.
Technology should provide a solution to a problem that you’re facing now
Before you start investing in new technology, it’s a good idea to understand why you’re interested in adding something new to your business workflow. For example, storing your data on the cloud and creating backups is a fantastic idea, but why exactly are you doing it? For most companies, it’s all about keeping customer data and projects safe from potential corruption or damage if they’re stored on a local hard drive. This is a perfectly good reason to invest in cloud-based technologies and should be the main motivator for investing in cloud solutions.
But when it comes to something like purchasing an expensive piece of technology, you often need to have multiple reasons that make sense from a business growth perspective, but also a financial viewpoint. A good example of this would be investing in a new piece of tech such as a drone. Drones are a fantastic piece of equipment for taking overhead shots and recording footage for surveying purposes. If you take a look at websites such as Dr Drone, you’ll find plenty of great reviews to help you pick a cost-effective one that fits your budget. As such, buying a cost-effective one isn’t a problem. The issue comes when you consider how often you’re going to use it, what it’s going to be used for, and if the investment in buying it, training staff how to use it, and maintaining it is worth what it provides you.
For many businesses, it might be easier to just outsource the work instead. In the case of a drone, they take a bit of time to get used to and it’s important that you keep it in good condition. There’s a lot of time and effort involved in learning how to use it effectively and the results produced (such as an overhead photograph or video of a certain area) might be low quality due to your lack of experience or budget. In comparison, you could just outsource a drone or photography specialist to help you produce much better results for a fraction of the cost with guaranteed results.
In short, technology needs to provide a solution to a problem that you’re facing now. However, the problem needs to be something that you can handle yourself in a practical and efficient manner. Small businesses don’t invest in infrastructure to handle something that could be outsourced at a fraction of the cost. You need to make intelligent decisions if you really want to use technology to facilitate growth, though there are times where investing in that kind of infrastructure can be helpful for long-term business goals.
Technology can reach a point where it’s creating more complications
Technology is designed to help you be more efficient in your business. Unfortunately, there are times where you may feel like technology is limiting you or causing more issues than you’d like to admit. For instance, many companies these days use productivity applications such as Slack and Trello to help manage their day-to-day projects. Unfortunately, using these apps isn’t a simple switch that suddenly makes you more productive. If your workflow involves other apps and technology to help manage your day, then switching to an industry-standard isn’t going to immediately produce better results.
There’s a bit of time investment involved because you need to train your staff on how to use something new. You also personally need to learn how new technologies work and you have to find ways to implement them into your workflow. You’ll need to create new processes and refine them so that they’re saving time and not wasting it. Many of these apps also need to be configured correctly and you have to figure out how you want to implement them into your workflow.
Don’t assume that every company uses these apps in the same way either. Slack is seen as a communications program that has a lot of great features for developers. However, Slack often isn’t needed for a company that only has a few members and is perfectly fine using existing programs to communicate. Just because a solution is branded as an industry standard, it doesn’t mean that all companies need to use them. There are plenty of larger businesses that don’t want to pay a subscription fee to use office productivity software such as Office 365. Instead, they’re perfectly fine using Google’s free suite of apps such as Google Docs and Google Sheets.
Just keep in mind that technology can reach a point where it creates more complications and issues than it needs to. Don’t hesitate to simplify the technology you use and don’t feel pressured to scale up your solutions just yet. Tinkering with new solutions is a great way to see if they’re capable of fitting into your new workflow, and it also helps familiarise you with new technology so that you have an easier time educating your staff and incorporating it into your workflow without causing inefficiencies.