I have a friend that runs a small business who was lamenting one day as we talked that he would eventually have to go ‘high tech’. He made this comment as he held a worn leather (probably ‘pleather’ actually) binder containing a paper planner of one brand or another. The pages were riddled with notes both in pencil and pen… most likely whatever writing instrument was convenient in the heat of his planning moment. There were sticky notes poking out at odd angles from various pages.
Initially I cringed as I clung just a little tighter to the iPad I held under my arm.
So, is it better to adopt a higher technology solution to solve a company problem?
In a word? No
Does that mean a paper planner is better than my iPad? Nope.
What is ‘better’ is as simple as what you’ll actually use. Not just today, but tomorrow… next week… next month… next quarter… next year.
It’s easy to use a new piece of technology or a new business tool for a short time while it’s still shiny but for many business systems it’s reliability over time that makes a process successful.
My friend’s binder was used… no, it was ‘well used’. So it’s a tool that he was using reliably and regularly.
Could he benefit from some aspect of a higher tech solution? Maybe. Shared calendars, Point of Sale, note taking apps, email, to do lists and collaborative solutions are just a few of the potential time savers/value added solutions that technology can provide.
BUT – and this is an important consideration for small business owners – If you’re going to make a change to your business it’s going to take time, effort and very likely the development of a new habit. When you ask yourself and your staff to invest time and energy in change an important question to ask and answer is: “Is this the change that will have the most positive impact on my business that I can practically implement right now?”
If the answer is ‘Yes.’ then buy an iPad (figurative example). If the honest answer is ‘No… I could just pick up the phone and call my existing customers and get them to come back in…” then start a pot of coffee, adjust your chair and begin dialing.
Break time’s over… it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!
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