Are you one of those small business owners that thinks technology is just about getting the job done more quickly and effectively? Are you also of the opinion that simply investing in hardware or software is all you need to do to stay competitive? Well, it’s time to think again. Recent research from MIT suggests that the most successful businesses are those that have a strong leadership which actively promotes innovative technology and makes it an essential element of the corporate culture. So, if you’re one of those business owners that passively sits back and lets technology happen almost in spite of you, then it’s time to change your focus. You need to be far more proactive and strategic in your approach to technology. Here are three essential things you should be doing now to make sure your company can respond to the challenges of technology.
- Luddite or digital native?
Are you a Luddite or a digital native when it comes to new technology? Business owners need to recognise and finds ways to deal with the generation gap between older and younger employees. Digital natives, typically those aged under 35, are far more proficient and capable with their use of technology than older people. It’s the digital natives who are leading the way in organisations in terms of being innovative and creative in their application of technology. As a business owner, you need to recruit, encourage and support the digital natives to continue to deliver business efficiencies and better ways of working.
At the same time, you also need to find ways of encouraging older employees and managers to embrace technology and take full advantage of current and emerging trends. Too many people find themselves resistant to change and new ways of working and so it’s incumbent on business leaders to actively address this.
- Review traditional ways of working
There’s no doubt about it, office space is an expensive overhead for most small entreprises. As a business owner you need to ask yourself, is it necessary any more or is it even productive? You see, technology has made it possible for people to work in a variety of ways and in different locations. It may be that the best physical location for employees isn’t a central office any more. Perhaps it’s more efficient and productive for staff to be situated in a shared rental space near home or in a home office set up, or perhaps, if they’re out on the road a great deal, then a peripatetic model may be more appropriate.
- Maintain a clear oversight
Do you really know how technology is being utilised in your business? To be an effective technology leader, you really need to have a deep understanding of how it’s being applied in all areas of the business. In manufacturing companies, for example, this means being certain that the best technology is being used to make the supply chain as efficient as possible. Perhaps your business is more focused on sales in which case is technology being effectively and creatively utilised to connect with customers via, for example, social media? It’s up to the business owner to ensure that the corporate culture supports and encourages using technology to advance the company and that requires having a clear oversight.
The simple truth is that the technological revolution we are currently undergoing is as significant, if not more so, than the Industrial Revolution. And all business owners need to proactively lead the technological revolution in their own businesses if they want to be competitive and succeed.