If you’re lucky, your company has a solid base of customers, revenue is flowing, and business is good. If you take advantage of technology to work more efficiently and market more effectively, though, you won’t have to rely so much on luck.
A recent article from the Austin Statesman highlights a couple small businesses, and how they’ve taken advantage of technology. One is an auto repair shop owner who switched from writing customer invoices by hand to using an online service. The switch has saved him up to an hour per vehicle over writing out the invoices by hand, and allowed his business from regular customers to spike more than 4000 percent in one year.
The second business is a local maker of a craft liqueur who was struggling to find customers. After hiring a social media marketer, and leveraging the power of Twitter to gain exposure for his brand, business has picked up and he now counts one of the local restaurants as a loyal customer.
Those are both good examples of small businesses that aren’t normally associated with being high-tech using technology to gain a strategic advantage. It’s not just about using technology, though. It’s about using the right technology, and keeping up with changes that can help streamline productivity or cut costs.
There are many small and medium businesses out there still using Windows XP, or managing an inventory or customer database on old, slow server hardware. Many small businesses continue to throw money away placing ads in the printed yellow pages that so many people throw straight into the recycling bin, while a recent survey by American Express found that more than half of small businesses aren’t using social media.
The old axiom of “It it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to be at the heart of how these businesses run. The problem with relying on that saying is that you often don’t realize it actually is broken.
Windows XP still runs the software and tools your company needs, so it may not feel broken. However, Windows 8—or even Windows 7—has a variety of updates and features that help you work more efficiently, manage and find data with less effort, connect to network resources without so much frustration, and protect your computer against attacks and compromise better.
That old server might still technically be running, but at what cost? Newer hardware comes with faster processors and more processing cores. One new server can replace the processing power of a rack of servers from five or ten years ago. Newer hardware is also more energy efficient, so you can get more done in less time while also cutting your power and cooling costs.
It’s true that if something isn’t broken, you shouldn’t waste time or resources to fix it. When it comes to technology, though—especially for small and medium businesses—an investment in technology will pay for itself, and give your business a strategic edge to help it grow.
This story, "Businesses That Avoid New Technology Are Leaving Money on the Table" was originally published by BrandPost.