We tend to resist change because of our fear of the unknown. We may wonder, what happens if we implement new technology and it doesn't work out? But in business, change is inevitable. Just because things are good today, doesn't mean it will be the same tomorrow. We should always look beyond our current state to prepare for the future and stay ahead.
One area of business that constantly changes is technology. New innovations and updates happen almost on a daily basis. New tech may alter your company's entire infrastructure, create a new customer experience, or be a means to improve efficiency and save time and money to become more profitable.
Many times we steer away from new tech because we don't trust our ability to learn it or don't want to dedicate the time and investment to make a change. We are going through this in my yoga studio right now. We have put off a decision to change out our POS software for years because of the fear of the unknown, such as how hard it may be on us and our customers.
However, we are taking the plunge in the next few months, and have utilized many of the following five tips. I advise other business leaders to do the same, so they feel more confident in implementing new tech:
1. You are not alone.
Odds are everyone around you will experience the same level of uncertainty and anxiety about new tech. It helps to know you are not going through this alone. Ask your technology vendor for references you can speak with, and reach out to your peers and co-workers to ask how they deal with a new change in technology in their place of business. Sharing notes on best practices --the good, the bad, and the ugly--can provide support and valuable insight that makes your transition process more positive.
2. Make tech more of your life.
Don't wait to pay attention to tech until you need to. Instead, make it a habit to continually familiarize yourself with new technology. The more exposure you have, the less fearful you will be. I like to follow several tech blogs that keep me up to date and educate me on the inner workings of emerging tech.
3. Focus on the benefits.
We often fear tech because it may be missing a feature or two from our current technology. Remember: You are never going to get 100 percent of what you want. However, if 80 percent of the new tech makes you more efficient, then the task is how to implement processes around the remaining 20 percent. This helps you to expand your vision and look at the potential benefits, rather than focusing on the negative. If you see how valuable something can be to you in terms of making your job and life easier, you are more open to adopting it.
4. Utilize free trials.
It is important to dedicate time to training and testing out a free trial of the tech product. Many times we want to jump right in, but that gets us in trouble, or we perceive the technology doesn't work when it does. Always take advantage of the training the company provides to ensure it benefits your business. You get to evaluate new tech without any commitment, plus you gain some valuable hands-on experience.
5. Invite friendly customers to test.
Often the best way to better understand tech is to ask some of your customers to test it with you. Learn what they like about interacting with your business when using the new tech, what works, and what doesn't. That way you can learn what processes you need to put in place for a smooth transition and describe to customers how they will benefit from the changes.
Technology is one of the biggest and most consistent changes businesses face. It used to be that we could implement technology in our business and walk away from it for the next 10 to 20 years. However, that is not the world we live in. Still, it's easy to implement new technology when it comes on the market. And the more efficient and automated we can make our workflow through new tech, the more time we can invest on the value-added areas of our business, such as improved employee engagement and customer service.