How to Keep Up with Technology for your Business

Technology has become an inescapable part of all our lives.  It has also become a way to differentiate your business from the competition.  It can be a tool that lets you operate more effectively, and serve your clients better than any of your rivals.  The only problem is time.  Your focus needs to be on your core business.  Keeping informed of the constant change in technology is nearly a full-time job.

There was an article published on the net that recommended that small business owners set aside time to read tech magazines, surf for new information on the internet and take online technology classes.  We have yet to run across a small business owner that has that kind of time to read about and research trends in their own industry, let alone to try to tackle the subject of technology.  So what can be done?  Collaborate!

We are quite sure you are doing this now.  You have an accountant, don’t you?  We would hope you are not only using your accountant to just keep your books and process your tax payments.  They should be ‘partnering’ with you and advising you on things like inventory levels, tax policy, benefit packages, and cash flow.  You trust your accountant with the most intimate details of your business.  You need to find someone who will ‘partner’ with you on technology.

Talk to fellow business owners and find out who they use.  Talk with a number of IT companies, interview their owners.  Here are some suggestions on what to look for:

  • Try to deal with an owner.  They are more likely to understand the challenges you are facing      and will have a better idea of how to help.  If they have been running their own business for a while, they may be able to advise you on more than technology.
  • Find someone who is willing to spend some time learning your business and its processes.  They can make better recommendations if they have knowledge of both what you are trying to accomplish and how you get there.
  • ‘Partner’ with someone willing to meet with you for at least an hour or so each month.  Come to that meeting prepared to discuss the issues that are concerning you and how technology may be able to help.  Also be prepared to listen.  You might cover things you never considered.
  • Make sure your technology ‘partner’ is interested in the success of your business, not just trying to make a sale.  A ‘partner’ will realize that your long-term success will translate into their success.
  • Find someone you can be completely honest with and will return the favor.  The more upfront you are about your situation and expectations, the better help you will receive.

Developing this type of relationship with a technology partner will have at least one ‘unintended consequence’.  It will force you to begin to think strategically (think big picture) instead of just reacting.  You will find yourself staying ahead of the curve for your industry instead of chasing it.

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