We routinely come across small businesses who aren’t happy with the how their IT shaped up over the years. They feel their IT investments never really showed the kind of returns that they expected, and they come to us hoping that we can change that trend.
As a part of our investigation on how to make things go right, we have to take a good look at what went wrong. And often the issue is not their technology or even how they use it. It’s deeper into the culture than that. Here are the major things to watch for you as you grow so you don’t wind up being bogged down by the very business elements that are supposed to make our lives easier.
Not Prioritizing IT
This is the #1 mistake that small businesses make. But admittedly, it’s also one of the biggest paradigm shifts that they can make. While they focus on growing their business, most small businesses think about marketing, sales, and inventory. Very few think about strategic investments in technology. IT is seen as a cost center to the business which needs to be minimized, rather than a competitive differentiator that improves the customer experience (and therefore loyalty and lifetime value).
Chasing the Newest and Shiniest
In contrast the point above, going for the fastest, latest, or even the ‘best’ technology may not be the best for the company in the long run. Many small businesses realize the key role that IT plays in their business success, but they tend to get distracted with the bevy of tech opportunities on the market. They invest in the latest IT trends without considering whether it fits their immediate and long-term business needs, or if they really need it in the first place. Even worse, they’ll implement these new solutions without taking every department into consideration, like “will this simplify or complicate their lives?” Why spend on the coolest toolset, fastest computers, or largest hard drives when you get only incremental productivity benefits?
Your Team Is Not with You
When you bring in new technology or even new IT policies, it’s your team that needs to work with it on a daily basis. Lack of user adoption is the #1 way that software implementations and digital transformations fail, so if your staff is not on the same page with you, your IT investment is unlikely to succeed. So, before you make that transition from local desktops to the cloud, or from Windows to iOs, or roll out that new BYOD (bring your own device) policy, make sure that your staff is on your side.
You Are Not Sure How to Put It to Good Use
The lure of new technology is like a shiny, new toy. Investing in something popular and then not maximizing its use is more common than you think. Make sure that you get the most out of your investment by creating a plan that includes optimizing as many features as possible (as long as they align with your business goals, of course). Then make sure you provide your staff with adequate training on how to use it and why they need to follow the steps you outline.
Thinking You Have to Do It Alone
IT can be challenging when you do it all by yourself. Not to mention, it usually comes with steep costs when it’s taken care of in-house. Add to that the complicated tasks of identifying business needs, locating the right solution, and then ensuring that you get the biggest benefits from the selected tech, and it’s understandably enough to make anyone want to take a nap. Fortunately, this is what we do all day, every day. Contact us so we can help you make the most of your IT investment.