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If you’re running a business you’re wearing many hats – you’re juggling dozens of responsibilities, with your hands in many pots. More often than not technology falls through the cracks and it’s easy to become less of a priority. Here’s a list of five mistakes that businesses often make when it comes to technology, and the impact they can have on the business.
1. They have a website, but don’t do anything with it. Websites are a great tool for building trust and relationships with your clients and customers. However they take work and a plan – simply having a website isn’t enough anymore. How do you drive traffic to the site? Where are you ranking on Google and other search engines? Are visitors converting into $$? These are all important things to consider and plan.
2. Treat technology as a burden and overhead. The argument can definitely be made that technology is an expense. However, there’s a pretty strong case that the return on investment from investing in reliable technology can far outweigh the burden of the expense. Take for example the investment in providing remote access to your network for managers. The efficiency gained from this investment can contribute to a better operating business with more flexibility. By treating your technology as an investment in your business, and by partnering with the right provider, you can noticeably impact your bottom line from an operations perspective.
3. Think social media is a fad. The reality is that social media is not a one size fits all shirt. The strategy and angles around how to use this tool are the same as those applied to managing a good web presence – you have to develop a plan that suits the business. Maybe Twitter is not an effective social media tool for your business, but YouTube is. Explore the options, find the right consultant to chart out a plan, and make sure you understand the advantages and benefits to using this technology. Not having some sort of presence on social media (and using it correctly), is almost as negatively impacting as not having a website these days.
4. Not buying the right hardware. Computers, printers, laptops – you know you need them for your business, but the capital expense can often be high. “It’s just a computer, right”? Purchasing the wrong hardware can often lead to further expense down the road. Make sure you’re purchasing hardware that is designed for business use, has the right warranty, and can be serviced conveniently and onsite. Purchasing consumer or residential computers for a business environment may be slightly cheaper up front ($600 computer from Staples compared to a $1,000 computer from Dell), but consider the differences: Windows Home edition vs Professional / 1 year warranty / No next business day service. When your computers are used day in and day out it’s important to have solid, reliable hardware, with a quick turnaround, quality warranty.
5. Assume all IT companies are equal. Technical services, IT support, computer repair – whatever you call it’s important to know that IT support is not created equal. The problem begins in that there’s no industry standard to being in the IT services industry, as there is to say being an electrician or a lawyer. For that reason the barrier to entry can often be low. How do you know what the “right” company is? By asking the right questions. Find out what the company’s history is. How long have they been in business? Who are their clients? What are their certifications / specialties? Doing some background research, and finding the right company to support your technology can be a huge asset. The right firm should be like a strategic partner to your business – helping your business grow and minimize costs through an effective and reliable technology infrastructure.