The ins and outs of technology
by Andrew Newton Brown
Technology can be a daunting prospect for many business owners. And when times are tough this is normally one of the areas that businesses cut back on. But technology can often actually help your business.
Peter Switzer, founder of Switzer Financial Services, says business owners and IT managers should ensure the majority of spending on technology is limited to the following:
- Boosting business productivity
- Streamlining decision making processes
- Communication with a client base (usually through customer relationship management (CRM) software).
“There are exceptions to this rule, but when times are tough, spending outside these areas will generally only cost more money and deliver no significant benefit,” Switzer says. “In tough business conditions, it’s the ‘like to have’ technology projects that should be put on hold for more cash productive ones.”
Many businesses take an “as is needed” approach, which means mixed platforms, unnecessary capital expenditure, and “a lot of pain when the time comes to plan and budget properly”.
Some businesses opt to get information about products from an IT provider. Switzer says it’s important that any recommendations are backed by substantial evidence that show what are the benefits to your business. And before using recommendations, it’s important they pass the checklist above.
Another technology businesses should consider is in relation to their marketing online. If you have a website, ensure that it’s kept up-to-date with the latest information about your products and the services you have to offer.
Consider setting up a blog on your website. In your blog, tell your existing and potential customers the latest about what’s happening in your business, for example, about the latest products or news that affects your industry. You could also allow customers to make comments and ask questions on your blog.
Ensure your contact details are easy to find on your website. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than having to search for the telephone number or address of a business they want to do business with. And remember, you’re vying with all the other businesses online that may offer similar products or services as you. It’s easy for a customer to just click the next business on the list if they can’t find a way to contact you.
You could consider setting up a Facebook or Twitter account. These online tools are free and can expose you to a wider community online.
Remember to put your website on all your business cards, invoices and other documentation. There’s no point keeping your website the world’s best kept secret!
- Ensure your website is up-to-date and consider starting a blog. Also make sure your contact details are visible on the site.
- Look into social networking. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can expose your business to more customers.
- Remember the criteria for spending on technology in tough times. If it doesn’t fit, it can probably wait until things turn around.
- Always remember to ask whether or not the business will benefit from new technology.
So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching.
Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
Published on: Thursday, July 08, 2010