Ever wish you could extend the day by just an hour or two? A 26-hour day would give you time to run your company, plus squeeze in those things you’d like to do; like going to the gym, jumping into that book that’s been lying on the coffee table for months, or mastering new technologies.
Mastering new technologies? Wait. You don’t have time for that! You’re probably thinking that the technology you’re currently using is reliable, plus you understand it. The reality is that adopting new technology can help grow your business. You need to make time to learn about new technology if you want to remain competitive, increase your efficiency, and move your company onto the global stage.
We have come up with some tips that will enable you to get on a technology learning curve and gradually integrate new technologies into your company. The key is to make a commitment to embrace new technology and make it a part of your daily work routine.
- Start Small. Look at the different components of your business and assess which technologies are being used and which ones can have the greatest impact on improving your bottom line. Make a list and determine if there are “pain points” where you can start improving things. Start with the small things and work your way toward having increased technology use as one of your company’s goals for your next fiscal year (or next quarter).
Are you or members of your team using Excel sheets for time tracking when you should really be checking out time-tracking software, such as Harvest? If you have team members working in different locations on multiple projects, are you using the latest collaborative software? There are great cloud-based applications that enable staff to collaborate securely and easily.
- Make Time. You’ve probably heard about Google’s 20% rule where employees get 1/5th of their time to work on projects of their choice. That amount of time may not be realistic for you, but the idea is that you need to carve out time to learn about new technology. If you build your technology education into your work routine, it will only take minutes a day.
- Read More! Expand your news feed to include technology news sites. Read product reviews. Sign up for a weekly news alert from a tech publication. This will help keep you up-to-date and informed. Some good sites include CNET, Tech Crunch, Wired, Engadget, Digital Trends and Computerworld. The technology pages of online newspapers also provide good information.
- Sign-up for Training. Grab a coffee, set aside 20-30 minutes and sign up for an online training session about a new technology. This includes affordable and free options such as webinars and YouTube, but you could also branch out and attend an intensive technology seminar.
- Get to Know Your IT Staff. Your IT staff or external supplier are an untapped wealth of information. Ask your IT staff to do an assessment of the extent to which technology is being used in your company and use their recommendations to build a technology strategy. If you don’t have in-house IT staff, there are good freelance technology consultants who can do an assessment at a reasonable price. Find out if you have other staff members who are interested in technology and involve them.
- Change Your Corporate Culture. Build technology learning into the workplace and make it a part of your corporate culture. Consider taking five minutes at the beginning or end of a staff meeting to introduce a new app or technical tip. Give everyone an opportunity to participate.
- Embrace Social Media. Social media is a powerful channel for reaching new customers and growing your business. It’s your gateway for reaching international audiences and you need to make sure you are using it effectively. Make social media a company-wide tool for promoting your company. Take a deeper look at some of the business tools with Facebook such as boosts and offers. With a small expenditure, it could win you a new customer, If you’re only using one platform, branch out and move your company onto new ones.
- Increase Mobile Technology. Make sure your company is taking advantage of mobile and keeping up with the increased speed of business that mobile allows. In addition to ensuring that your website is responsive and displays appropriately on mobile devices, get to know the best mobile apps that can increase your efficiency. Depending on your business, you may want to look at increasing the use of tablets or smart phones to take advantage of the apps that run on them.
Your customers are likely keeping up with technology and they expect the same of you. Employing the latest technology will increase their confidence in your company and assure them you are providing them with the best possible products and services.