Matthew R. Meehan is a leading finance expert and CEO of Shield Advisory Group. He specializes in helping SMEs access credit and capital.
People generally want to “work smarter, not harder.” You don’t wake up one morning and ask, “What can I do today to be less productive?” That’s just not how it works. Humans’ need for improvement is primal.
New technology is one way you make that happen. It seems every time you scroll through your news feeds or turn on the TV, someone, somewhere, is making something faster, better and smarter. Technology is a bullet train, and it seems to be picking up speed.
That is why capitalizing on new technology can be both difficult and exciting for your business. It’s an opportunity to be more efficient and more successful, and grow your business to new heights. It also means you’re likely to be left behind if you aren’t paying attention.
Here are four ways you can make sure you don’t miss your ride.
See the big picture. You have to be willing to work without blinders on. When your business, your legacy or your finances are on the line, it can often feel safer to focus on what you know has worked in the past, and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day minutia. But doing what you’ve always done will only ever get you where you’ve always been. To go somewhere new, you need to take a step back and look at the big picture.
One way to do this with your business is through a PESTLE analysis, a commonly used tool that can help analyze political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental trends. Having a better understanding of the market you’re operating within can help you strategize your next move and identify areas for improvement — areas that may benefit from new technology.
Do your homework. Solutions aren’t just going to fall into your lap. Keep a pulse on what’s going on in the tech world. Listen to podcasts. Subscribe to magazines and publications. Find experts in your niche, and see what they’re saying. Participate in online communities, such as Quora or Stack Exchange, to hear the word on the street. New tech is birthed in both giant corporate labs and small basement startups; pay attention to both.
Take action. Studying trends, researching and speaking in hypotheticals is one thing. It’s another thing entirely to implement a new technology. When you’re busy putting out fires and solving the immediate problems at hand, it’s hard to prioritize the time that is required to make changes. But if you want to propel your business forward, you must act.
Get in early. Perhaps one of the most crucial ways to capitalize on new technology is to get in on the ground floor. Once the masses adopt a new technology or system, a new precedent is set. How many people have landlines in their homes anymore? How many balk at shipping that takes longer than two days? When was the last time you purchased a CD? Technology doesn’t go backward. And if you’re not staying ahead, you’re playing catch-up. Being one of the first to use a new technology within your industry gives you a leg up on your competition.
Tapping into the potential new technology can offer is one of the smartest things you can do for your small business. It is critical that you remain adaptable to change, stay open-minded and do the research and work necessary so you are on the train — rather than on the platform watching it rush by.