Do your clients point and laugh when you pull out your circa-2008 cellphone? Was your computer OS released before Obama came to office? It's time to pass the upgrade hat if your office exhibits any of the following symptoms of extreme technical illiteracy.
1. Everyone Has Their Own Printer
While networked printers have been around for some time, you can now buy wireless printers that are even easier to connect to, or take advantage of cloud printing options, letting everyone in your office print to the same machine. Yes, that LaserJet may have cost you $2000 eight years ago, but it's probably time to run with something new. Bonus stuck-in-the-past points if a dot matrix lives on anyone's desk.
2. You Still Own a Fax Machine
There is no doubt that there is still a place for faxes, and many businesses that require signatures on contracts still need a fax line. Yet, for most it is a lot easier to send and receive faxes from your computer than it is to keep buying ink for that dinosaur fax machine.
3. You Think Tablets are Toys
Not so. Tablets have tons of business uses, although the consensus is that you need a higher-end tablet like an iPad or for a business productivity platform that can run scaled-down office software apps--and not something like a Kindle Fire, which is essentially an e-book reader and media consumption device with extras.
4. You and Your Employees Are Scared of New Tech
The technophobes in the office generally have mounds of paper on their desks consisting of the emails they've printed for reading. They'll repeatedly ask the more technically-inclined employees for tech support, like for attaching a file to an email. Those who are afraid of tech may have lived through one too many buggy Windows upgrades in the 1990s and early 2000s, but that attitude can keep you from embracing new things. That being said, no business should run out and buy a shiny new thing before it's had at least a couple of months on the market to work out the glitches.
5. You Still Haven't Embraced the Web
There are still some old-school industries and companies that haven't hopped online or developed their online presence from anything more than a placeholder page. This may be because you run a retail shop and think you have no use for a website, or because your clientele is older and you assume they don't use the Web. The only problem is, every senior I know either has a computer or has access to one.
The old "We don't need a website" logic just doesn't hold up anymore. You need a website. You may not absolutely need to be on every social media network, but you should at least have a decent Web presence, if only to get on the smartphone screens of local customers who are looking for you.
6. Very Few People in Your Office Own a Smartphone
There is only a marginal difference between the cost of a smartphone data plan and the cost of a handheld cellular voice plan. For this small difference, you can have the entire Internet in the palm of your hand. There is no reason not to upgrade.
Where smartphone data plans start getting expensive is if you subscribe to an unlimited plan, and if you are just starting up with a smartphone, chances are pretty good you're not going to blow over one gigabyte a month on your data plan.
7. You Still Have a CRT Monitor, Anywhere
CRT monitors are unsightly, huge behemoths that look like ugly televisions and suck more power than a new monitor will even dream about. I had to go way back to find any calculations, but powering a flat-panel monitor will cost you less than half the cost of powering the CRT. Employees who won't have to stare at the monstrosity on their desk any longer will thank you.
8. You Still Have Windows XP Installed "Because it Works"
I'm not going to spend too much time here because we've already got an entire article about it. But Windows 7 works. It works much better than XP. And you're open to security holes the size of Jupiter if you're still rocking XP.
If you've nodded at most of these points, it's time to make changes. You'll notice a small improvement in your business, whether it's employee productivity or more customers walking through the door after seeing your website.
Angela West dreams of opening a Fallout-themed pub featuring wait staff with Pip-Boys. She's written for big insurance companies, small wildlife control businesses, gourmet food chains, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @angelawest and Facebook.