Technology moves so fast that everyone struggles to keep up. Before everyone even understands how their new software works properly an updated version is available. Tablets that are used for checkout services are outdated before they are six months old. This comes with a heavy cost burden. In order to stay on top of technology, small businesses owners feel like they need to sacrifice a significant amount of money. They also feel like they have to sacrifice time. The resources it takes to research and understand technology investments can be fairly substantial. There are a number of factors that can impact a small business owner’s decision to adapt new technology, and we will work through them here.
The most obvious reason is age. A recent study found that 82% of small business owners are over the age of 50. Of that 82% half are over the age of 60. This means that the demographic is already fairly set in their ways. They have owned their businesses, on average, for over ten years, and they are comfortable with how they have done business all of this time. Like most things as we get older we find our routines even if they aren’t the most efficient or easiest. Change can see intimidating and unwelcoming, especially when trends move so quickly.
Since most small businesses run very lean it can give more decision making power to employees. While they tend to do the work of more than one person, this means they don’t want to take on the responsibility to learn new technology too. It is easier to keep doing things how they are being done than to switch. The inverse is that businesses that have more employees have to meet the needs of more people, also making it hard to switch.
New technology can be a big financial burden for most small businesses. Even buying laptops for a dozen employees can cost a few thousand dollars. That doesn’t include the cost for subscription fees of software, additional technology improvements, and more. Small businesses run with very tiny budgets. A technology investment can throw a wrench in all other expenses.
So how can a small business adapt when facing these different obstacles? A slow, confident transition is best. Entrepreneurs should make a list of the technology that needs changing from most immediate to least important. For example, are your employees begging for a more efficient way to handle a customer’s check out experience or order experience? Learn what you can about that investment and prepare to make it sooner rather than later. No one cares that their laptops are three years old? Hold off on that. Having a clear and easy-to-follow plan makes it easier to navigate the changing technology landscape in a way that best benefits your business.
Most importantly know that just because technology changes quickly doesn’t mean you are obligated to change each time. Things like web platforms updates are easy and take just minutes, and improve website performance and integration with plugins. You are not required to buy new cellphones or laptops just because there is a new version. Prioritizing which technology is important to your specific business is key to wisely spending your money and making decisions that improve and streamline your business.
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