Even though it is 2018 there are still many entrepreneurs and employees who are not sold on the idea of using technology to manage and organize their business. Instead of using automated invoicing, as an example, they insist on handwriting receipts and only accepting payment via checks. This lack of interest in using technology to improve business practices and output can often cost a business clients, money, and a significant amount of time.
So, how can small businesses ease into technology? How can the transition be smooth and support the goals of the organization without overwhelming it? We have some tips that will make the change easy for everyone and save businesses the headaches that come with doing things the “old” way.
Evaluate Your Systems
Look, as fun as it is to have someone hand write and mail invoices it isn’t efficient, and it is costing you money. Whether that employee makes $7.50/hour or $50.00/hour it isn’t money well spent. It is important to review every single system that makes up a business. Mark which ones you want to find a way to improve with technology and which ones you need or absolutely prefer to remain manual tasks.
Depending on both your industry and state, it may be impossible to automate everything. Doctors in certain states must hand write certain prescriptions, for example. Knowing what can be automated is an important step in moving forward.
As much as you may want to say “Automate everything!” this isn’t the best way to approach the transition. For those who are reluctant to implement technology it is best to start with something simple. An easy example is this: switching from paper messages to be picked up when the employee arrives to a digital voicemail service or forwarding calls to employees’ cell phones. While it seems insignificant this transition can be the gateway to introducing more technology and automated practices.
Make a Plan
The objective of your plan should be to implement all of the changes necessary to improve the technology of your business. It shouldn’t be done all at once, and you should take into consideration both time and cost to put in place. Something like using Slack to communicate internally is much cheaper and less time consuming than buying everyone top of the line tablets to replace computers.
It also requires you to really evaluate how your employees will accept the changes. If your employees are generally reluctant to change then you may want to work slowly and methodically through the changes. If it is an enthusiastic group you can move more quickly and try more challenging things. Recognizing and knowing your employees and clients is a huge and important part of making this work.
Now it is time to get started. It is okay to feel frustrated or annoyed with your new systems. When a business has done things one way for a long period of time any change will be hard. People will reach for the paper invoices before remembering that they are now doing them through a cloud based service. As things become part of the routine this will happen less and less.
Technology can feel scary and different, but it is an important reality for businesses. It can take a business to the next level, the one that seemed just out of reach. Small changes can mean big business.