Have you ever been to a company where everything is still done the hard way? Where orders are hand written in triplicate, instead of being processed on a computer? Where accounting and calculations are still done with paper journals and calculators? Have you ever noticed how much longer everything takes, and how much more difficult it seems? Even though the results are the same, it is so much more labour intensive.
The truth is, when old-fashioned processes like that were the only options, businesses had far less competition. They could afford to take their time with things, because their customers demanded less of them, and they were secure in the knowledge that in spite of everything, they would still be there tomorrow, and the day after.
Those days are long gone.
These days, business is fast paced. It is about competing with many other companies, often around the world. It is about productivity and targets.
If you are still doing business the old-fashioned way, then you are probably not as successful in your business as you could be.
Let us consider some of the many advantages modern business technology offers the small business owner for a moment.
In the past, an international business call would be expensive. You would have to choose a time when you knew the person you would be calling would be in the office, and you would have to keep it short and to the point. Then, if you needed to send that person something, you would either have to send it via fax, or spend a small fortune on a courier or international postage.
Fast forward to today, and you can be at home, or anywhere else, with your laptop or a cell phone, and call your supplier or customer via Skype or on their cell phone. If you need to send them something, you could instantly email it to them, or simply share it on a service like GoogleDocs. You would have instant results, and you would be able to take immediate action, rather than waiting days or weeks.
Let us consider another scenario. In this one, your customer wants to place an order. In order to make that happen, you first have to check your stock records, or walk to your factory floor to check whether the item is in stock. Then, you would have to calculate their quotation by hand, and then write it in an order book, before filing the order in one of dozens of files, and walking back to the factory floor to arrange for delivery.
These days, your client can email you an inquiry; you can check stock on a computerised system, and email the quote to them. Once they have paid (by PayPal or internet banking), you process the order on the same computerised system, and send the delivery instructions to the terminal or printer in your factory’s despatch area. All in, the process could take minutes, rather than hours.
That is the advantage modern technology offers your business.
It allows you to do business globally, accessing new markets, finding new products and new business partners quickly and easily. It also allows your business to be streamlined, and to have greater productivity. Technology makes it possible for your business to have greater mobility, and it limits the possibility of human error.
From accounting to telecommunications, and marketing to customer relationship management, technology touches your business in countless ways.
Many business owners choose not to implement that sort of technology because they are worried about the initial cost. That is short-term thinking, however. Modern business technology can help you to reduce the number of staff you have to employ. Instead of an office full of people doing menial, labour intensive tasks, you can choose to work with a few highly intelligent people, who are more productive. Instead of the all too regular mistakes that come with human error, you can rely on purpose built software to get the job done correctly every time. Instead of missed opportunities, you can be in constant contact, even when you are on the other side of the globe, or on holiday.
The truth is, trying to do business in a modern world without the benefit of technology is a bit like trying to dig a hole with a stick. You will get there eventually, but if you are competing with someone who has a shovel, you are going to be left behind.
So if you are still trying to do business the old-fashioned way, and wondering why it is not working, perhaps it is time to look at how you can implement the technology that is already out there in your business. Your company will be more productive, you will have less managerial worries, and you will be able to compete with companies who already use technology in their business.