Over the years, I have seen many small businesses regret purchasing software and other tools for their small businesses. Why? They did not evaluate their processes and people before making their purchase. Software and technology do not fix a business. Software and technology are the tools to carry out your strategies and processes.
Therefore, the answer to the question, what comes first, the strategy or the technology, is neither. It is a trick question. Before bringing in technology, you must understand your strategy, process and people.
Don’t be quick to purchase software or technology before evaluating your
business’s strategy, processes or people.
Think about it from this perspective. You promised your significant other that you will paint the bathroom over the weekend, and you know your significant other will praise you for weeks for completing the task. In order to get moving on painting the bathroom, you run to the paint store and purchase a gallon of paint in the color your partner desires. You get home, change into appropriate paint clothes, and get your roller, paint brushes and paint tray ready. You are excited to get going, and you begin to pour the paint into the tray.
You cover your paint roller with your partner’s favorite paint color and begin to roll the paint onto the wall. Uh oh. You suddenly realize that you didn’t prep the walls at all. You didn’t wipe the walls down, and you didn’t tape around the moldings, mirror, sink, bathtub, toilet, etc. You already started painting and decide that with a careful hand you can still manage to do a good job. Uh oh. You realize as you approach the molding you don’t have a paint brush that will be small enough to cut in. You decide it is too late to stop now, so you continue with the tools you have on hand. After spending half the day painting the bathroom, you step back to admire your work. You spot paint on the ceiling, molding, mirror, toilet, bathtub and floor.
You did not evaluate the process or strategy, ergo the directions, before purchasing the paint, which left you without all the tools you needed, as well as important steps like prepping the room before painting. Had you evaluated the process and tools outlined in Google for painting a bathroom, the bathroom would have turned out more aesthetically pleasing, which would have made your partner significantly happier with you.
The same is true in business. Don’t be quick to purchase software or technology before evaluating your business’s strategy, processes or people. It could leave your business’s ROI flat (or nonexistent) and your processes harder than they were before.
According to a survey conducted by Brother International, 63% of small business owners feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which new technologies to adopt. Small business owners should take the following five steps before purchasing any technology or software:
Review your business plan and marketing plan - Your business and marketing plans are the roadmaps or GPS for your business. These documents outline your mission, vision, goals, SWOT, people and more. Knowing these key pieces will help guide you in your decision-making journey. If you don’t have these documents, work on creating them.
Review and set up your budget - You need to make sure that you align your technology budget with your current financial situation and future goals. The budget will help you to avoid purchasing additional technological perks and add-ons your company doesn’t need. Remember that the cost of technology is only one cost to purchasing technology. You must consider the cost of implementation.
Are you looking for software or technology to solve a problem for you? - If yes, what problem are you expecting the technology or software to solve? Before purchasing any technology or software, review your current processes. Technology or software is not always the fix. Sometimes, the answer may be that you need to adjust your internal processes.
Will the new technology or software integrate? - You want to make sure that your current and existing technologies can integrate, and remember that there usually is an additional cost to do so.
Evaluate security and privacy - Small businesses are vulnerable to hackers, and with all the recent security issues, it is imperative that your technology and software is secure and private.
ProActive Information Management, LLC, can help you with all five steps, and CentraVance Consulting can help you with step number five, as well. Give us a call today at 804-897-8347 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Now, for some reason, I feel compelled to find my husband and let him know that I want the bathroom prepped and painted.