What can the new technologies do for your business? We are in the middle of a great technological wave. Or at least, it feels like that. In reality what is happening is a sudden and exponential growth of technologies and ideas that are only going to get faster as time goes by. So, ‘beginning’ is probably more appropriate than ‘middle’ in this case.
Technology has long been the driver of industry, from the first early human who decided to pen and breed animals rather than hunt them right up to the birth of the modern internet, it is technological advances that have changed the way we live.
For modern businesses, there is nothing more vital to growth and sustainability than technology. We live in the Information Age; there is nothing more important to any business than the technology that allows you to organize every piece of information you have.
Whatever your business is – whether you are a manufacturer offering a particular niche process or a large service provider – technology is guaranteed to be at the forefront of your business plan. How you utilize it, when you upgrade and what you use is all a massive part of what you as a business are able to offer to your clients.
So, if you have ignored your technology for the last year and you are wondering what you should be looking for, here’s what you need to know to catch up in 2018.
Improve Your Efficiency
The world is speeding up and so should you. Efficiency is everything when customers decline your business because someone down the road can do it twice as fast. But efficiency is also about getting the best for your investment, and this is what businesses should be thinking about.
There are a lot of different ways that you could improve your business’ efficiency using technology. For example, a medical business might benefit from using Practice Management Software to make booking, cancellations, and billing easier to manage.
A manufacturer, on the other hand, might benefit from investing in the latest machine which works twice as fast to supplement production and offer a faster service to customers.
The balance you need to consider is how your investment will benefit you over the next year, 5 years or even 10 years and how will this investment benefit your customers.
You might also need to think about how newer technologies may age your investment choice and decide whether or not to upgrade now given that in 6 months time something substantially better might come along.
Efficiency is tough to get right in this new climate so do take time to consider all your options before jumping in.
Increase Your Capacity
For businesses to succeed, they also need to be able to grow at a good rate to cater for more customers. This might mean expanding a single company or it could mean branching out further and opening new premises around the world. Either way, it is technology that will give you the impetus to get moving faster.
One of the ways you can quickly build and globalize your company is through remote workers. This is an increasingly popular option as many people are looking to step away from fixed-hour 9-5 days in an office and are looking for more dynamic working opportunities.
The advantage for you is that with technology (and let’s face it, we are mainly talking about the internet now) you can have a team scattered around the world, all working together using an online platform to communicate.
An alternative way of thinking is automation. Instead of expanding your team and taking over the world, you could invest in automation services that will deal with many of the mundane tasks you would otherwise waste time on.
Popular options are using automatic email systems to send out reminders, assure customers that you have received their email, or even to remind staff of internal affairs. The more you can automate, the fewer man hours will be spent on menial tasks, freeing up your staff to do more creative work.
Lead Your Industry
When you get there first, you have a headstart on other companies and the same goes for tech. Until Mark Zuckerberg came along, social media was pretty basic. His only real innovation was to create a site where people could talk to each other and share updates more easily.
And yet, when we think of social media, Facebook is always thought of as the first because since then, it has been the first to offer targeted advertising, the first to realize that businesses use social like individuals and the first to reach such staggering user numbers.
What does this tell us?
Well, to start with, innovation is incredibly important. You have to be willing to invest in something new and unexplored to make the most of it.
Taking the risk is a part of being at the forefront of your industry: if it works you will be renowned for being first, if it doesn’t, just move on to the next project. Secondly, Facebook has continued to lead the industry; it didn’t stop and sit contentedly while other platforms caught up and started offering advertising opportunities and business profiles too, it consistently works to bring new ideas to its massive consumer base.
While your business will probably never be as big as Facebook, the lesson to take home applies whether you are a one man band working from your garage or a large corporation with multiple offices: technology is driving industry forwards now and if you aren’t at least keeping up with the pack, you will fall behind and become obsolete.
The business world is becoming increasingly competitive and as more people leave corporate life to create their own startups the pressure of being different is ever mounting.
Keep one eye on what your competitors are doing, sure, but keep an eye out for the next big idea too. Trust your business instincts; take a bold risk. You want to get there before they have even thought about it.