“Wealth” is more than just money. It represents more time, more freedom, more flexibility to do the things you want to do, when and where you want to do them. It is more satisfaction in what you do, and more peace of mind in how you do it.
Investing in your business technology infrastructure and employee training is one of the best wealth investments you can make in your business. Here are just a few of the reasons to upgrade your technology and training:
Profitability & Client Satisfaction – The internet generation expects high quality work at low prices, delivered conveniently and quickly. More efficient work processes and better technology and training can help your business work better and faster, at more competitive rates, with lower overhead.
Employee Satisfaction – Newer (and more experienced) employees who are accustomed to technology at home and school are easily frustrated by inefficient processes they could do better elsewhere. Needlessly time-consuming or repetitive work is boring and frequently overwhelming. Manual processes are more prone to error, and are often complex systems designed to compensate for the inadequacies of paper or other outdated technology, which can make it harder to train and replace employees.
Peace of Mind – Automated systems are another “eye on the ball”. They can reduce the opportunity for errors, make it easier to double check or audit your work, and provide reporting systems to keep track of what you have to do, or protection for what you’ve already done.
Continuity & Disaster Planning - Nothing is more dangerous than information that exists only in someone’s memory – or only in one location. People go on vacation, get ill, leave, retire, and die. Computers fail, disks or drives are lost. Then what? Paper beats memory, but it is expensive to store, hard to search, easily destroyed and impossible to backup. If the paper in your office was lost or destroyed, how much impact would that have on your business? If someone had to run your business without your institutional memory, could they? Few small businesses survive more than two years after a major data loss.
Technology Can Be Expensive. Here are Some tips to Consider before You Upgrade.
Save More & Spend Less Elsewhere
- The single largest cost item in most firms is payroll. If your workload has reached the point that you are considering hiring additional full or part-time employees, or you have people nearing retirement or other attrition, the cost savings of more efficiency can be huge.
- Consider ways your existing staff could be used for more profitable work, better marketing, or more time for billable tasks.
- Some insurance companies offer discounts for better information management.
- Technology tools can make administration easier, call management and client service easier, reduce employee attrition, and increase client satisfaction.
- Electronic document management and remote access substantially reduce the time, paper, toner, maintenance and storage costs of paper filing.
- Buy only what you need – but not less
- Consider your present and long-term needs
- Get input from everybody who works with or needs the information
- Consider consulting
- Do a serious cost justification exercise
- What is your hourly cost of doing business? Include everything from payroll and rent to paper and toner.
- What can you realistically expect to save or recoup?
- What profit opportunities exist if you better utilize staff time?
- Look at 3yr and 5yr return on investment numbers, not just year one.
Use it Well
- Manage Change: Power is exciting and inspiring, pain kills motivation. People will do far more to avoid pain than to achieve benefits. Help them understand how you will protect their work and efforts before you begin.
- Get a good start out of the gate - Do NOT skimp on training and customization.
- Implementing technology yourself can be expensive too – and time consuming, frustrating and error-prone. Experienced implementation can save you time and pain
Make it Work Best for Your Business
- Fit it to your business needs: Customization increases efficiency and effectiveness at the things you do best and most often. Good software is adaptable and versatile.
- Be willing to adapt your processes – much of what you do is compensation for things electronic systems do naturally; evaluate your resistance to changing those things that have lost their utility
- Spread the cost of your technology investment of the time that it will serve you.
- Established budget for technology as a cost of doing business, vs. infrequent large expenditures
Consider Software Subscriptions
- Predictable costs, scalable to the size of your business needs
- Low start up costs, but may more expensive in the long run
- May also be less expensive or equivalent to cost of keeping up-to-date
Consider Ongoing Costs
- Plan for the cost of service, upgrades & maintenance
- Consider building it into the lease if possible
- Plan for technical support and training
The decision on what makes the best sense for your company can seem daunting. Even knowing where to start and what needs to be purchased/upgraded first is a tough decision. That is why River Run offers consulting on creating a business plan for improvement. We analyze what you currently are using, how your business functions and ways to improve the efficiency and technology within your business without breaking the bank! We provide you with a plan for how and when to move forward with your technology. Sign up here to find out more!