There are two types of business owners who consider technology differently:
Type I – “The Gadget Person”
This type of owner embraces technology at most levels. They are considered “early adopters” from a technology point of view. The gadget guys were the first ones to get a Palm Pilot in 1995 and loaded all their contacts on the device. They were excited to set appointments and have electronic reminders beep all day long.
Type II – “Just make it work”
This type of owner proudly proclaims that they know very little to nothing about technology and are content to leave it that way. They were wary of email at first, but have come to rely on it quite a bit.
Both types are passionate about their business and could benefit from strategic application of the right technology solutions.
Understand Your Process
Coupled with technology is “process.” Process is defined as steps required to manufacture your products or the means to provide your services. A clean and efficient process is the key to applying any technology solution successfully. The wrong, or inefficient process, will lead you to spend $100k on an unnecessary system. The efficient process will save you money when implementing technology and should increase your profits. It is vitally important for your business that you examine all your processes BEFORE implementing any technology solution.
If your process is efficient, then applying a technology solution will automate the operation which will properly enable growth. On the flipside, if your process is inefficient, then applying technology will be costly and likely work against itself. Technology for the sake of technology is not going to solve anything. In fact, without the proper process and strategy, you will likely create problems and reduce your margins by applying the wrong technology solution. A technology “solution” should solve something.
A technology solution should meet at least one of the following four criteria:
1. reduce operating expenses
2. automate existing (efficient) processes to enable growth
3. provide an effective means to communicate
4. enable your business to improve its products and/or services
Before the first dime is spent, insure that your examine these criteria.
Mike Echlin is a 20-year technology veteran who has helped many small businesses optimize their use of technology. Technology is an enabler for profits, period.