If there’s one constant in our lives today it’s change. The pace of change
is so rapid that it can often feel overwhelming. Technology is by far the biggest driver of this and is something our business sees everyday. It’s a challenge that in reality affects every business
, regardless of size. However, for small businesses in particular it can feel quite daunting.
Technology can generate a sense of fear for many business owners. Whether it’s a fear of the unknown or simply a misunderstanding of the costs involved, it becomes a situation where changing they way you do things through implementing technology is something that isn’t given priority. It keeps being put off, moved to the ‘we’ll look at later’ file. This approach can then paralyse you from moving forward.
What’s driving technology change?
This can differ across businesses but for me there are some key drivers that are creating this situation.
Firstly, the competitive nature of business is a natural driver of change. We’re all looking for an edge, some way of avoiding that squeeze on margins. Technology can be the enabler that helps you find that point of difference.
Secondly, the different suppliers can drive change to the market. The technology market is huge and once developed there’s always a company looking to sell it! Couple that with the media and other influencers and you have a vehicle to drive market demand.
Thirdly it can come down to how we adapt to change, i.e. you either let it happen to you or you make it happen. Some businesses are reactive, in other words they wait until they need to react before embracing technology. It might be a competitor beating you to the punch or legislation change that forces it on you, the point is that it’s being reactive. The other scenario is where you see businesses take a forward thinking approach i.e. they make technology work for them, staying ahead of the curve rather than waiting for it to happen to you
. For me, that’s the best position to take.
What can I do to start the journey?
Here are a few basic tips on start you on the technology journey.
1. Make a decision to start
Often the hardest part of any journey is taking the first step. Making a decision is the key to it all: Don’t fall into the trap of procrastinating about whether or not you should be looking to technology to drive your business forward. Make the decision and jump in!
2. Start small
The biggest mistake I’ve seen in adopting technology is trying to do everything at once. You don’t have to change all of your processes and flip the business on its head overnight. Pick an area where you know there’s a painpoint or challenge that can be overcome with technology.
3. Remember digital transformation is a journey
I can guarantee that any technology adoption is not simply a one off event; it will be something you need to take a journey on over time. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake: It’s those mistakes that well help you adapt and refine your approach.
One thing that has worked well our business in this space is choosing the right partner. We made the decision to use technology in making our overall business more efficient, focusing first on our office fit out. To do this we found a partner that truly understood our challenge and what we were trying to achieve. They understood that often technology is like an iceberg…only 10% is visible; the remainder is hidden under the waterline. They could see the bigger technology trend that allowed us to trust their judgement and be comfortable that they were making the right decisions to deliver the outcome we wanted.