Technology – the enabler of business these days, right?
We’ve been through the industrial revolution with machines speeding up the pace of production and increasing efficiencies. Today’s world lives in the technological revolution (which appears to never be peaking). Technology, in this context - meaning software, helps a business do things better, faster and more efficiently. In some case of such systems as CRM systems or Sales Automation systems, even stating the fact that it will even increase sales.
We’ve all done it. Read the reviews, seen the case studies of happy business folk “10x”-ing their income and opted into the demo if not free trial. I know we have, many times! But what happens at the end of the free trial – when you scrabble to find your log-in details to de-activate the trial before it starts charging you? The majority of the time, we all go to “cancel” at this stage, but why is that?
The answer is time. Within the month, you got access, you spent 30 minutes on day one playing with it, because it really does look like it could solve your problem, and then put it to the side to do later. Somehow later never came around, and now the trial is over. You didn’t get to test it in action, because you had to take some steps to get on board. You had to set up some things, you had to upload some stuff, you had to adapt some processes you normally do differently to fit into the new system, and you simply didn’t have time or energy or even know how right then.
It would take more of your time to learn the new system in the month than you could gain back in value in the short term. You could get your other employees to give it a go – so long as they didn’t miss the critical client deadline, but then you’re going to have to explain why you want them to do it, and its easier just to try yourself and tell them about it after the fact.
All sounding too familiar?
New tech takes time to learn, time to adapt (either you adapting to it or you adapting it to fit you), time to prove value, but so often it is positioned as the saving thing. Why then when you switch it on doesn’t it spring forth value?
The answer is about business process and objective.
It is critical that any business has a clear business objective that it is focusing on achieving. Then a set of business processes (manual or technical) that are put in place to enable the business to conduct business. When the process map is modelled and proven to be robust and scalable, then it is time to look at technology to support the processes. What is available that supports this particular process step.
When you find the compatible tech, then it is worth investing the time to learn and adapt, as it is clear that it supports the end business objective, rather than being a whizzy thing in a passing trend.
This is most noticeable in the social media space. Any new business gets up and running and starts building a crowd around their niche. The focus is usually solely on building the crowd and noise around the subject matter, and “engaging” the audience. However, what’s the next step? Now you have the crowd, what are you doing with them? How are you tracking how ready they are to buy? How are you ensuring you are sending them relevant information that moves them down a decision path, and not just a “lets hang out party”’?
The use of the platform is adopted because all your competitors are on it …. Or your agency told you to be … or that’s where my crowd is. However, before long, the crowd has moved elsewhere, and now you’re chasing that trend, learning a new platform, remembering to include it in your content distribution platform, or more often than not, creating a whole new content thread just for that platform because its new and shiny.
The end result is a lot of great content, going to a large crowd and you’re very very busy maintaining, feeding and monitoring it along with all the other things you have to do as a business owner.
At some point you’re going to crack. At some point there is going to be too much to do, to learn, to test and try and gain the leading edge on. This is the point your technology becomes a time sucker and not a time saver.
Your tech should be supporting a clear business process that in turn supports a clear business objective (ideally measurable and reportable) – enabling that process to run faster and more efficiently and at a higher volume or scale than if you did it manually today. It should not be a new process you have to do because everyone else is doing it.
Where can the most technical efficiencies be found?
For smaller businesses, the best area to find time saving advantages is in content creation and dissemination and tracking. We are all using (or should be using) content to attract and nurture and retain our audiences, but efficient methods to plan, produce and distribute content would be a great time saver. Clear content plans prevent us spending the time wading through silly cats on Facebook while trying to find the promoted post we sent out last week. They also ensure that what we send out is relevant and not just noise and helps to build the trust – therefore keeping the readers engaged, not bored or blind to our content – which is then logically moving them through a purchase journey from interested, to educated to ready to buy!
We can promise you this, because it’s what we struggled with, and why we created Ugenie.
Efficiencies in communicating with and retaining an interested audience in your niche – now that’s not only a time saver, that’s a business tool.