Whether your company is large or small, staying profitable will likely depend on how prepared you are to innovate in order to advance your organization. A built-in, long-term effort to assess and monitor your technology investments involves the same time-tested tactics you use in everyday business planning.
Your success will depend on how well you can match technology needs to both current and future objectives. Here are some ways to achieve that:
Don’t get stuck in the past
How you did business successfully in the past may not have legs in five, 10 or even 20 years. Whether your company is young or old, it is important to ask, “How much do you actually work to keep your businesses up-to-date?” The answer may surprise you.
Business owners become too content when it comes to proactively seeking out new technology to stay competitive — the “if it ain’t broke, then why fix it” philosophy. And, when things go awry, it is hard to admit that it was the organization’s lack of forward-thinking leadership that let progress slip.
Understandably, with a business of any size, it is a struggle to just keep the doors open. It is easy to fall behind when the technology and tactics are totally different today than even two years ago. Regardless, you have to start with the basics.
Evaluate your website, social media and search engine optimization every year. Read every industry publication you can get your hands on. These are valuable resources because they can give you access to research and clues relating to what’s next in your industry.
Likewise, attending seminars and joining trade associations are not just for junior executives — you and your executive team need to take steps toward tomorrow. Progress requires a consistent commitment to the future.
Set clear goals and stay focused
While most companies have long-term goals built into their business plans, it is easy to get sidetracked in the here and now. Staying close to your ultimate objective is the key to making the right decisions about any investment of money and time, especially when it comes to technology.
With technology there’s the temptation to be responsive instead of proactive. If you are just keeping up with or mimicking your competition, you are not focused on your business — you are focused on someone else’s.
Take a look at your corporate goals and expansion plan, then identify where technology can play a role in your future. Your competition is using existing technology to be competitive today. You can gain the edge by focusing on building a company that will stay competitive tomorrow.
Invest in the people behind the technology
Don’t forget the faces and the real intelligence behind your business. Even the most advanced, progressive organizations can make the mistake of relying too much on technology. When budgeting for technology expenditures, remember to plan for ongoing education to keep your people trained and up-to-date.
Make ongoing employee education convenient and part of the job description. As with every part of your business, the technological tools of your trade are only as good as the talent of the people who use them. ●
Tom Gillece is founder and president of Gillece Services, a residential plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical repair and replacement company. Located in Bridgeville, Pa., it employs more than 100 technicians/field personnel, operational and support professionals. For more information, visit www.gillece.com.
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