Technology and digitisation scares most SME owners. In a vendor-led industry, we’re never sure if we are having the wool pulled over our eyes. Have you ever found yourself at conferences or networking events and overheard competitors talking about the latest technology they’re implementing. Leaving you wondering if they are splurging on the latest gizmos just to boast.
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, I find that they often fear what the technology may do to change the structure and culture of their company.
The reality is that things change. It’s about the only thing we can count on. A century ago, you had an assembly of people constructing a Ford automobile. Most of those people have been replaced by robots now. Those specific jobs have been lost, but jobs manufacturing and programming the robots have been created.
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 employees. But in my experience, there doesn’t often need to be a lot of downsizing. Most organisations that onboard new technology do so because they’re growing and there is actually a need for more people. You’ve got them right there; they just need to be retrained.
Too Many Technology 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. And coming down to whether or not to implement technological change, and if so, how?
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 CMS—finding the 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 don’t know enough about technology to make the important decisions by yourself. You’re either going to develop someone into that role or find a consultant/advisor as an independent voice.
Worried about the effects of COVID19 on the future of your business? Read my blog about how COVID19 will change the workplace forever here.
Unleash Your Business Growth
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.