I call myself a reluctant technology enthusiast. Using technology doesn’t come naturally to me, and I know I am not alone. I also know that as a business owner, if I don’t embrace technology, I will get left behind and lose my edge.
Today, technology plays an important role in helping businesses provide value to customers as well as create efficiencies and flexibility in business operations. It’s no longer viable to avoid technology, whether online or mobile, so how do you embrace this new world when it makes you feel out of your comfort zone?
The first step is to accept that, as business owners, we are never going to feel 100% on top of technology: how can we? It changes all the time! But you can feel more comfortable with it. Here are my suggestions.
1. Hang out with tech savvy people
If possible, hang around with people who are more technologically savvy than you — this might be staff, family or friends. You will be exposed to a higher level of technology, and they can help push you forward in this area. A great way to learn new technology is by looking at what others are using and asking them to demonstrate how it works.
2. Take it one step at a time
Take on technology in bite size chunks. Set yourself up for success, and never take on too much at one particular time. Complete one technological challenge before starting a new one. For instance, move one program onto the cloud before moving your whole business.
Finish about 80% of one project before even thinking about the next challenge. Remember that an easy way to overwhelm yourself is to have lots of new technological projects happening at once. Keep projects small until you gain confidence. With more confidence, you can take on more challenging projects.
3. Always refer to your business goals
Always make sure that whatever technology you’re using is aligned to your business goals. You are more likely to complete your objectives if they have a purpose for your business rather than technology for technology’s sake.
Any programs or initiatives you implement should provide extra value for your customers or achieve efficiencies to your business — and hopefully both. Never take on technology just because people say, “You should do this.” Make sure that it links in with what you’re trying to achieve and will not become a distraction from your business.
4. Commit to learn
Make a pact to learn a couple of new things each year. For example, attend a seminar on a technology topic, upgrade to the latest smartphone or trial some new online software or business tools.
This will keep you challenged and provide practice in getting your head around learning something new. It will also help you gain confidence as you discover that with each new piece of technology, there are lots of similarities with older technologies. With practice, it becomes easier to navigate.
5. Find a good partner
Surround yourself with good technology partners. It can be very difficult to take on and deal all by yourself — so don’t! Team up with a good web developer or IT support person who you trust and will help you on your journey.
6. Get the right resources
Provide appropriate resources to become more comfortable with technology. Understanding and utilising technology will take some time and maybe some money, but it will definitely require some effort to feel at least vaguely competent in it. So ensure that when you do take on a project, you have a bit of time to commit to it. It is definitely worth it, and your business will thank you.