Small businesses and freelancers often struggle with deciding when, or even if, they should embrace the latest technology.
With 2018 just around the corner, it is the season for predictions, and with it the pressure of being left behind can feel even greater with the promises of trailblazing innovations that will take your industry to new heights.
The choice is deceptively important, as without the budget of a large company it’s not feasible to invest in every passing trend. Equally the margins for error are slim, with mistakes costing valuable money, time, or competitive advantage. So we’ve taken a look at some of the considerations about how to identify which technologies you really need, based on the goals you have set for 2018.
So many choices, so little time...
So how can you identify the right technology to help your business grow with the world around it? First of all, it’s important to keep on top of your market, and have solid predictions of where you want to be in the coming years. When a new piece of tech comes along, take a look at your business plan and try and figure out whether this innovation can help you reach your goals.
With such a plethora of options for technological ‘solutions’ to help your business grow, the first issue is negotiating the paradox of choice, avoiding analysis paralysis and identifying the right one.
The first step towards a decision is ensuring the technology aligns with what you have planned for your business and if it truly helps you towards your goals. This naturally requires staying on top of your market, and having solid predictions of where you want to be in the short and long term.
Having clear goals will help you to cut through the noise, narrowing down your focus to the technologies that can really help you towards your goals - rather than the those that look great but in the end just distract you (a la in-car tech!).
For instance, If your goal is to achieve a more global reach, any developments in communications or delivery services will almost certainly be worth pursuing. Or, if you want to see your business become a household name (who doesn’t?), you’d likely keep a close eye on new advertising and marketing tech, or even the platforms themselves as adopting them at the right time could make all the difference. A prime illustration of this being Snapchat, and the early success of businesses who dared to experiment.
Be open to change
This also points to the implicit feedback loop generated by the emergence of new technologies and how they may in turn influence your business’ plan, goals or strategy. The importance of maintaining a flexible vision and constantly considering the new opportunities emerging technology might present. Even large corporations with seemingly insurmountable market positions can be laid low by a failure to adapt. Nokia fell from global domination after failing to adequately anticipate the transition to smartphones and Kodak famously failed to anticipate the rise of digital cameras - despite inventing them!
On the contrary however, another challenge to negotiate involves the worry of adopting a technology too early - especially if you’re committing sizeable resources to it. You wouldn’t have wanted to put all your distribution behind the wrong format in the VHS/Betamax format war (despite Sony’s persistence).
Not all change is this apparent though, sometimes it is the smaller (seemingly insignificant) changes that can make a surprisingly large impact. For businesses operating mostly offline, this might mean keeping an eye out for new developments that could take your business into the digital world - such as the ability to list your business on Google Maps. Or, for those already involved in digital professions, new innovations could take your venture in surprising new directions.
But don’t forget about the here and now
Of course, new technology isn’t just about where your business can go – it’s also about optimising your productivity on a daily basis, which in turn aids a focus on driving your business in the right direction.. So, when considering new technology, it’s also important to look at how implementing it could save you time and money today.
Set yourself a New Year’s technology resolution
People see the new year as a new start, an opportunity to do better and be better. Perhaps there’s no better better place to start than by harnessing technology to give yourself more time to do devote to those ends So if you’re spending hours calculating your staff’s wages every month invest in new payroll technology, which could revolutionise your working week. If you’re wasting days trawling through receipts and expenses claims?
New accounting tech could transform your approach to finance, and at Expend we believe that we’ve got some of the best.Our integrated app and payment card system is a great example of how adopting new tech can help your business and free up time to invest in other, more exciting things. Our free trial can show you exactly what you’re missing without costing you a penny.
So why not make 2018 the year you’re more productive, and ditch the old way of doing your expenses. Win YOUR time back, so you can spend more time on growing your business.
The adoption of new technology is essential for a modern business, and can be the difference between thriving and merely surviving. The largest issues surround choosing the technology itself, a fundamentally important business technology has to be well timed, executed, and aligned with the organisational goals. The pressure is somewhat reduced where the technology is less fundamental (or costly) to your business, and has a clear and immediate benefit. Some experimentation can be worthwhile should there be a potential for differentiation or fast returns.