Choosing technology without first thinking about your small business needs is a mistake. You may purchase too much of a good thing or worse yet, a system that does not effectively meet the needs of your organization. So how do you know what you need?
The answer lies in your market, your process, and your people.
First, look at your target market—those whom you are trying to serve. According to Outbound Engine, half of all small businesses do not have a marketing plan. Which means half of all small businesses aren’t even sure about their market, their clients, their needs, much less the best way to serve them. So how will you know what tools to use? Before choosing the right technology, like software, you need to know your market.
Technology does not fix your business nor will it fix your marketing woes. However, technology can provide tools that will help you implement your strategy. Where do you hope to see your business in a year? What about 5 years? As you purchase technology, consider your future needs as well and how you can effectively scale to meet them. It is easier and usually more cost effective to find a single platform or technology that can evolve along with your organization rather than switching gears. The cheapest technology may be fine for where you are today, but will it help you get to where you want to be tomorrow? Making sure that your technology will meet your future needs insures a positive ROI.
Second, look at your processes. How do you serve your market? Many organizations have had to switch to remote services in light of Covid-19 bringing the future of technology here sooner. The importance of having a good website, your digital footprint, has never been greater. After all, studies show that 57% of the buyer’s decision happens before your customer even picks up their phone to talk to you or your competitors. Additionally, people are just getting comfortable with video calls and teleconferencing. This won’t be helped if your technology is shotty and they can barely see you. Make sure your presentations are engaging and interactive. Are you a healthcare provider? Telehealth services have increased 50% in 2020 and that trend is not likely to end with the pandemic.
How do these new processes effect your security and privacy? Small businesses are vulnerable to hackers, phishing scams, and malware. Perhaps you need to switch to Cloud Computing and upgrade to a new security standard, like pim’s Advanced Managed Threat Response by SOPHOS.
Lastly, your technology needs to serve your people. Both the needs of the ones who work at your business and those they serve. Your people are your greatest investment and if the technology does not serve them well, their work and productivity will suffer. And remember that security wise, your people, no matter how smart and talented, will be your weakest link and the first target for phishing scams. Therefore, you need to make sure that your people are well trained on whatever technology you choose and factor that training into your technology budget.
Speaking of budgets, when coming up with your business and technology strategy, do you have the money to spend on technology? If not now, when? Remember that you want your technology to help your business gain ROI. IF you do not implement technology with the idea that it needs to generate a ROI, it could deplete your resources.
Remember that before you consider any new technology, marketing or otherwise, review your marketing strategy and plan. You must assess your marketing strategy, plan, processes and people before you purchase technology. Technology needs to fit your organization, offer ROI, and assist you in the overall implementation of your marketing strategies and objectives.
Always remember to review your current business and marketing plans to make sure that you are keeping in mind your market, processes, and people before purchasing technology. Don’t buy technology to “make it fit”. Since Covid, lots of things that used to fit, like my skinny jeans and perhaps your technology, just don’t fit anymore.
pim can help you with creating marketing plans and strategies, as well as, reviewing various technologies to ensure that they fit your plan, people, and processes. Give us a call at (804) 897-8347 or email us for more information.