Simply put, technology and digitization scares most SME owners. In a vendor-led industry, we are never sure if we are having the wool pulled over or eyes. Have you ever found yourself at conferences or networking events and heard your competitors talking about the latest technology they’re implementing, and you wonder if they are really utilising new tools to gana a competitive advantage or simply boasting while they spend money on the latest state-of-the-art gizmos?
Often, the CEO or owner of a company will tell me that they are scared of technology like it’s a dirty little secret. Once I start delving into that with them a little bit, I find that along with the technology itself, they often fear what the technology may do to change the structure and culture of a company.
The reality is that things change. It’s about the only thing we can count on. One hundred years ago, you had an assembly line of people putting together a Ford automobile. These days, most of those people have been replaced by robots. Those specific jobs have been lost, but jobs manufacturing and programming the robots have been created.
The most basic tenet of business is that it exists to make a profit. If you can’t follow that one principle, you won’t be in business very long.
If your competitors are getting ahead of you technologically, you need to catch up. Truthfully, you need to try and leapfrog them. If they implement a technology that makes them 200% or 300% more efficient, where does that leave you?
It’s admirable to have a concern for the culture of your company and your employees, but in my experience, there doesn’t often need to be a lot of downsizing. Most organisations that take on new technology do so because they are growing and there is actually a need for more people. You’ve got them right there; they just need to be retrained.
Too Many Options to Sort Through
Another big fear I routinely encounter is when the owner of a company is standing at a fork in the road when it comes to technology and is unsure of which direction to proceed.
This is why the organisation needs a well-developed strategic plan. If you don’t have a solid idea of where you currently are and where you wish to go, how are you going to plug that gap with a digital solution?
What if that gap isn’t a digital solution? Might it be that a certain segment of your business doesn’t make sense anymore and it should be dropped? Technology can create greater efficiency with a money-losing business segment, but if you can’t make that technology effective, what’s the point of having it in the first place?
Identifying these issues and developing solutions is much easier if you have a strategic plan in place.
Even after you identify the issue—let’s assume you’ve determined you need a new customer management system—finding the proper solution can be a challenge. Try typing “customer management system” into the search bar on Google. It yields nearly 2 million results.
How are you supposed to know which is the right answer for you? Do you have someone in the organisation that understands your goals and can match up a technical solution? Should you trust one of 100 websites that offer a “Top 10 Best Customer Management System” list? Probably not!
There’s a great chance that you not know enough about technology to make the important decisions by yourself. You’re either going to want to develop someone into that role or find a consultant/advisor who can serve as an independent voice.
I have just published a book “Growing Up – Unleash Your Business Growth” aimed at Business Owners who have a passion and vision for Business Growth. If you manage a medium size business, are battling with growth roadblocks and have a passion to change I am happy to send you a copy of my book free of charge. (yes it is a real book, not an ebook). Just follow the link at
David Nixon is Director, Advisor, Author and Entrepreneur and recognised as Australia’s Authority on Unleashing Growth Barriers For SME’s.