Nov 22

Basic Business Technology

I’ve been working with business owners for over 15 years now and during that time, I’ve met many business owner types.  I’ve come across the big egos, the endless analyzers, the frugal and I’ve even met a few dictators along the way.  After meeting and working with so many personalities and leadership styles, there is no business owner type that frustrates me more than the “I am not a techie” owner.
The reason for my frustration is because I have a unique vantage point of seeing for myself how street-smart and courageous most small business owners are.  Because of this observation, it makes me wonder why these business owners won’t take on the challenge of learning some basic technology skills to advance and grow their businesses.
The bottom line is that your small business will FAIL if you do not embrace modern business technology.  It doesn’t matter if your business has been around for 20 years and you’ve never relied on anything but “word of mouth”.  The entire landscape of doing business is changing rapidly and it will move on without your business if you do not learn how to utilize technology to your advantage.
Are you a “I am not a techie” business owner?  Here are some signs.
1)  You’ve repeated the phrase “I am not really a technical person” more than 5 times this year.
2)  You blame your age constantly for not being on top of business technology.
3)  You are constantly seeking help from anyone inside and outside the firm for basic technical assistance.
4)  Your children are your technical support.
I know what you’re thinking.  This post is a bit harsh.  The straight talk is needed.  Keep in mind that I’ve dedicated a big portion of my adult life in the pursuit of advancing small businesses.  Believe it or not, I am trying to help by kicking you in the you-know-what.  Many of you will also believe that this blog is geared towards older business owners.  On the contrary, I’ve found that age has very little to do with this problem.  In fact, according to the latest AARP surveys, one of the fastest growing technology usage groups are people over the age of 55.
So, how can you fix this problem?  Here are some suggestions.
1)  Change your state of mind about technology.  Without this paradigm shift of thinking, you won’t be able to move forward.  Are you the “throw my hands up” type?  If you own a business, I know you’re not.
2)  Take the time and put forth the effort to learn basic computer usage skills.  Do you know how to save files, create folders, save photos, cut and paste, install software and etc?
3)  Take the time and put forth the effort to learn basic e-mail usage skills.  Do you know how to attach files, create folders, auto-respond, add a signature and etc?
4)  Take the time and put forth the effort to learn basic Internet usage skills.  Do you know how to search, add to favorites, organize favorites, download files, shop/buy online and etc?
5)  Invest in some resources to train yourself and the staff if need be.  You might even want to consider an in-house one day training for your entire staff.  A full day dedicated to learning and training on how available basic technology can help your business, would that be a good investment?
If you follow some of my suggestions, you will feel incredibly empowered and a sense of rejuvenation will fill your business.  Take full advantage of ALL that technology has to offer small businesses and be an insider in the 21st Century.  This is my hope.

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