By Karen L. Edwards, RT3
Adjusting business procedures in response to COVID-19 may have revealed how technology can help you operate more efficiently. Successfully implementing that technology is another matter. Follow these steps to find success in your technology journey.
- Start with a plan. You wouldn’t build a house without following a plan and you wouldn’t put a roof on without having a plan. The same goes for implementing technology solutions into your business. You need a roadmap. Ask yourself where the business is heading and figure out what problems you are trying to solve using technology. Examine your processes while building your roadmap. Many contractors discover that they may have some poor processes currently in place, whether that be for accounting, operations, lead management, customer communications or elsewhere. Make a list of areas that need improvement and how you think technology could improve that area.
- Don’t forget to include your team. Your team members are the heart of your business. Their input on processes, procedures and business operations will be invaluable to planning for your technology needs. By including them, you will gain their buy-in for the new solutions that are being considered and they will be more likely to be excited about the technology because they were part of the process.
- Identify a champion and bring in experts. Identify a key individual in your organization that really knows the business. They don’t have to understand the technology you are considering, but they must understand the way your business operates. A new technology solution shouldn’t dictate the way you run your business. You should dictate the way your business runs, and your technology solution should be able to adapt to you and be configured to meet the needs of your business. Your champion can work with the technology provider’s expert to ensure that your business isn’t forced into a canned solution that is not an ideal fit with the way you do business. That just leads to frustration for everyone.
- Don’t skimp on the budget. Yes, an investment in the technology is required and you want to be sure to budget right. This is one of the most common mistakes that small businesses make when looking for new technology solutions. They don’t budget enough money and wind up with a poor solution. Take a different approach and consider the savings that technology can bring to your business. You may find that the solution costs a lot less than you initially thought. For instance, if you have 20 employees and the technology you implement will save an hour a week for each one, that equates to 1,040 hours saved over a year’s time. At an average hourly rate of $18 per hour, that would be equivalent to $18,720!
- One step at a time. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Use your roadmap and the results of your review of your processes to figure out where to start. What area will see the most impact? Which area needs the most help? By starting one step at a time, you won’t be overwhelmed and can focus on one solution at a time.
It’s important to remember that there is not a one-size-fits-all technology solution that does everything you need to run your business. You may need to use different technology solutions for different areas of your business, so you’ll want to be sure that the solutions you choose will work together and talk to each other.