Technology has an impact on our lives and business. From hardware like computers to cell phones to GPS, and from software like Facebook to Skype to video, technology has the potential to help us run our businesses better.
Technology can be a tool for growth or it can be a deterrent that prevents us from growing. If you’re thinking about investing in technology, ask yourself these 5 questions…
Will this technology work for me? Not all technology will work all the time. Perhaps a great cell phone plan for your team only works in urban areas but not in the rural areas where many of your customers are. Or perhaps you live in a different country and there’s a US-based technology that just doesn’t “play nicely” with your country’s technology. See if the technology provider has service level guarantees or a trial period so you can test the technology.
Will this technology enable the team to work together more effectively? This is one of the best uses for technology – getting your team to communicate more effectively. Good technology will allow them to connect with each other in real time and communicate clearly. For example a mobile video-conference technology would be great to implement so you can have meetings with your team without requiring them to return to the office.
Will this technology enable me to automate my business? Another great use for tech is the ability to do something automatically that was once done manually. Automate tasks that are time consuming, effort consuming, or necessary (even if they don’t add direct value to your business or customers) should be eliminated to free up your time so you can focus on other things. Don’t automate service, though!
Will this technology grow with my business? As your business grows, you’ll want to make sure that your technology can grow with you. Of course there could come to a point where you need to replace one technology for another because you’ve moved beyond its capabilities but asking this question before you invest in technology will help to ensure that you minimize that effort-intensive change.
Will this technology deliver ROI? This is the most important question and it’s informed by how you answer all the other questions above. Technology is a tool and, like all tools, should deliver a return on your investment. Consider how much time, effort, and money is required to acquire the technology and implement it within your company, and then weigh that against the amount of time, effort, and money you can save from its use (or money you will make because of it).
Technology is just a tool. It’s not necessarily better or worse than other (non-tech) tools, like pen and paper. What really matters is how you use it and whether it helps you. Before you invest in technology for your business, make sure to ask these 5 questions to know if it’s worthwhile.