Does your business have a road map to address your business challenges and opportunities with new technologies? If you answered ‘no,’ then you’ve come to the right place.
There are always emerging technologies to consider for your business, that can improve operational efficiencies, employee productivity, and provide substantial cost savings. All crucial competitive advantages for any small businesses.
Before you invest in any technology, however, you need a plan. A ‘road map’ that matches short-term and long-term business goals with specific technology solutions to help you meet those goals.
But small businesses often don’t have a plan for technology. Only to add technology as a means of addressing an immediate problem. Without a road map, you may be investing in the wrong technology for your business at the wrong time. In addition to wasting money, you may be creating more problems than the technology was intended to solve in the first place.
Here’s how to create a technology road map for your business:
Step 1: Identify current and potential business challenges
Identifying what your most pressing obstacles are today, and what they’ll likely be tomorrow, can help you accurately determine the best technology solutions for overcoming those challenges. Some common challenges small businesses face include:
- improving operational efficiencies,
- enhancing customer responsiveness,
- containing costs of doing business, and
- keeping data secure.
Step 2: Map the new technology solution to the biggest business challenge
For your technology plan, connect the dots between your biggest business challenge, and the specific technology solution that addresses that challenge.
Step 3: Determine what phase your business is in
In the foundation phase, a small business is seeking to get established. Communicating effectively with employees, customers and suppliers is especially critical. So your technology road map should take into account the need to provide the easiest possible access to information, offering the best service to customers, and keeping information secure.
Businesses in the growth phase are established and looking to be more efficient and cost-effective. Technology considerations might include offering workers the ability to work from home or on the go. You might also want to enhance your communications infrastructure to provide greater operational efficiencies.
In the optimization phase, it’s time to differentiate your business with customers and suppliers. To do so, implementing customer relationship management, sales-force automation and call-center applications to enhance information sharing may be your priority.
Step 4: Ensure that the immediate technology choice will help evolve your business over time
Whichever technologies you decide on, only invest in solutions that’ll help your business achieve your goals today and also supports the need you’ll have in the future – with minimal upgrades.
Small-business buyers often go for the lowest-priced technology that meets their needs today. This generally means buying products that don’t offer as many capabilities as others. But this approach can actually cost you money and time in the long run. The goal is to get the best value over time, not the lowest upfront cost.
A Few More Tips Before You Buy
Now you’re ready to make some investments. But before you spend your hard-earned money:
- Minimize the number of vendors. Spare yourself the agony and the time (and remember, time is money) by getting as much of your technology solutions from one vendor as possible.
- Remember, you’re not alone. Talk to trusted peers, partners, suppliers, friends, even competitors. Find out what technologies are working for them, and which ones aren’t.
- Stay tuned. There are always new and emerging technologies that can help your small businesses thrive this year–and beyond.
- Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
- Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.