Technology Shopping for Your Small Business

Small Business TechnologyThere was a time when you could run a business and not be a technology geek, but that is not the case anymore. For example, back in the day, my dad could run his carpet stores, content that his considerable selling and advertising skills were enough. And they were. But today?

Ha!

No way.

No, today anyone in business has to be part business person, part computer nerd. We need to know the difference between gigabytes and terabytes, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, resolution and dots per inch, and of course, know which browser supports which plug-ins. Whether it is your computer, printer, server, smartphone, software, apps, fax machine, phone system, or wireless network, the sheer ubiquity of today’s business technology is not only sometimes overwhelming, it is equally as important to us as selling and advertising were in my dad’s day.

But even though technology is critical to your success, it is also true that knowing exactly what to get, and when, is not always an easy choice. So what are the most important things to consider when making technology decisions?

Maybe surprisingly, I’d suggest that price should not be a main consideration. Is it important? Of course. In business, there are times when cost should be a key driver, but choosing technology is not one of them, for three reasons:

  • First, the importance of technology to your business cannot be overstated. Whether it’s that new website that gives you an edge, software that makes your employees more efficient, or those new laptops (or even tablets) that allow your team to better work on the go, technology today equals business success.
  • Second, good technology lasts. “You get what you pay for” is a truism for a reason. Paying more up front beats paying twice.
  • Third, and not insignificantly, bad technology is frustrating, wastes time, makes people unproductive, gives employees excuses and crutches, and just generally junks up the works. Who has time for that?

So no, price is far less important than simply finding the right tools.

But if price isn’t the thing to think about, what is? Getting the right tools for the job. And the way to know what is best for you is based on technology. Not only are there all sorts of sites out there that offer great product reviews (personally I like CNET and Amazon), but one of the best things about Web 2.0 is that it has enabled people to comment on products and reviews. Both the comments and reviews are incredibly helpful.

The other thing to consider is ease of use, training and support. I lump these three all together because they are so dependent upon one another. Complicated machinery or those that come with little training and support often means multiple frustrating calls to tech support.

Bottom line: In this day and age, technology is too important to your business to simply be another cost/benefit decision.

 

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