Technology Will Not Run Your Business For You
Monday October 11, 2021
We now have more tech applications than ever before,
why hasn't our life become easier?
Twenty years ago
someone would have laughed at you if you told them the last thing you'd like to do with a cellphone is receive a phone call.
The cellphone was an industry-breaker when it was introduced to the market. For years it competed with traditional phones, pagers, even just faxing. Email and IM's and every other single piece of communication brought to the market since have created a market of diversified interest and - more importantly - a complication in the way human beings communicate since.
Simplifying by adding channels?
We're in a period now where communication channels are over-saturated. For every form of messaging conceivable there are now over five, six different apps competing within that space. That creates a lot for modern business owners seeking to engage with audiences to try and integrate. The good news is it's really not necessary now to try to rely on or keep up with everything out there to be relevant, the challenge is recognizing which applications are worth your time and which are just stealing your focus.
The accessibility of tech has created an environment where businesses increasingly rely on technology to handle their sales, networking, communication, even their products and means of distribution. By gaining a significant market share, these businesses have positioned themselves so that by avoiding using them, you're costing your business access to a portion of your addressable market.
The problem with Easy Solutions
When you "own" a Facebook business page and sell goods from it, is there a difference from owning a website for you company? Is Facebook growth comparable to growth of your own website?
What's the value of a follower? Do they prove engagement with your business, capital or revenue share? Does popularity make a business successful?
Popularity is an element of success, to be sure. I would argue, It does not a successful company make.
Good tools always rely on implementation and execution. Having a tool which sits on your shelf isn't a tool that's going to put in any work for you. You have to know how you want to use it, and then use it with intent.
Tech has succeeded because it can (and will) help your business grow, but only if you take the time to learn how to control the technology and how to prevent it from controlling you!
Tech is Useful
Okay, so the goal of this exercise isn't just to dump on tech like a boomer or something. After all, I own a software company so talking about this subject probably rings as pretty counter-intuitive. We are in a time where the tools at our disposal can empower us in ways we've only dreamed of before, it's raised the bar for both individual expression and opportunity.
... If you Know What You're Doing
But, there's the rub. So many of us engage with technology, sure. But I believe there's a difference between engaging with technology and applying it. It's all down to that simple rule I go by: who controls your business?
For example, as a business owner you can have a Facebook page and use it two ways. You can start a business page, you can send some DM's, you can sit and wait for communties and interested prospects to find you. Or you can apply it, you can use it as a tool for market research. You can study communities and learn about buyer demographics. You can manage your time and your input and seek to use that tech to drive engagement and track your results. The tools are there, you have to go beyond what most people do with the application (read: argue about Star Wars and lament the friends from highschool you don't talk to anymore) to find the real bones of it. It's not something that will happen if you don't make wiser decisions, and the app certainly won't do it for you.
After interviewing hundreds of buisness owners last year, I have found that many jump to the "next new tech" thinking it will be the silver bullet to grow their business or make everything easier. Then they try to wrap their business model around that particular software or app.
My suggestion is that you put the technology away and take out some paper. Draw arrows and circles to create a flowchart of how you want your organization to work. Once you have finished, go find the tech that will support your flowchart - not the other way around.
Digital offices can be some pretty seriously distraction-rich environments. For some simple tips on integrating tech into your small business, we've got you covered: