When it comes to work practices and introducing technology into our business, many of us live a life of contradiction. We utilize incredible technology with items like smartphones and computers, yet we struggle to take this technology into every aspect of our business. The result is that we often find ourselves moving between high tech and low tech depending on the task at hand and this has to have a dramatic impact on any business.
How long did it take for most of us to make the move from a physical diary to an electric diary? And if you are like me, you still don't quite trust the new diary to "remember" all of those important appointments. The problem is that the longer we put off adopting technology, the more disruptive it can be to introduce it.
However, even the most technologically resistant of us is slowly being forced to embrace technology, simply because work practices are changing and we all need to be able to work in a more mobile way. Even more specifically, the goal we are hoping for and working towards is to be able to operate from anywhere, in a relatively seamless way.
Clearly, there are many upsides to this new found mobility, not the least of which is the liberating sense of freedom we get from being able to work pretty much anywhere, in a seamless way. Several years ago it was rare to meet a business where everyone operated virtually from various corners of the planet. Today it is very common. These businesses have made the transition, they have embraced all kinds of technology and they are always on the lookout for new resources to help them work and communicate even more efficiently.
The most interesting aspect of this approach is that the technology comes at a pretty low price. Some of the biggest costs associated with running a business are things like rent, office fit outs, telecommunications, electricity and motor vehicles. Most of these costs are eliminated or as a minimum drastically reduced in a company operating like this, which in turn gives the business a huge competitive advantage, a lower cost base, over their more mainstream competitors.
But is the quality of work affected in any negative way? Research tends to suggest absolutely not. In fact quite the opposite. The staff love the freedom, they can work the hours that suit them, there are lower levels of sick leave, they are more engaged and they are certainly happier. The biggest plus is that they don't have to sit in their car or on a train and commute for hours each day. It's not hard to see how this can in turn result in any business being more profitable, which in turn means it's more resilient.
So as much as we might complain about the rate of change, technology is providing a wonderful opportunity for all business owners. It is giving us a way to reduce costs, simply by investing in new technology and taking the time to learn how to use it effectively.
We can communicate quickly and efficiently. We can manage our time and our schedule by clicking a few buttons. We have access to masses of data at our fingertips. We can offer greater flexibility for our employees. And last but not least, we can have a very professional "shop front" that makes us look like a corporation, without all of the added expense.
My advice is to welcome any technology that can provide a more flexible and more mobile working environment. Once you start this transformation you will be amazed at what it means and how much more you can actually achieve. Making the first leap is often the key and this means letting go of old, outdated work practices that are actually chewing up precious resources.
Don't begrudgingly make the technology transition, consider the fact that if your business adopts earlier than your competitors, you may just have a major advantage that will ultimately give your business the opportunity to be more financially successful.
At the same time I've seen many businesses that have fallen behind their competitors from a technological point of view, which has impacted their ability to be competitive and that ultimately led to them failing.
To me this means that being slow to embrace technology can have a far bigger impact on a business than we may think. And of course the longer you put it off, the harder it becomes to implement. I think this makes a very compelling case for adopting technology into your business as quickly as you can and certainly quicker than your competitors.