Technology- An opportunity or a threat for business owners? Truth to be told, we have all been in a place where we believed that our life and business are doing great with the use of the existing technology and systems.
However, we tell ourselves that we are content with the technology that we are familiar with, and we stop exploring new trends, new technological advances, and ideas in fear that it will either be a threat or a waste of money.
Rather than reaching out to more advanced technology as an opportunity to grow your business, you have probably said these to yourself, I admit that I have either thought about it or said it out loud, something along the lines like:
“What I am doing is good enough, so I’d rather just stick with it.”
“All I can see is risk and short-term losses.”
“It’s too hard to compare, understand and choose between all the options.”
But are these statements true?
The Truth About Investing in Tech
According to the research conducted by Invigor8, did you know that early adopters of technology gain a 120% revenue growth and 106% extra profit growth over their competitors who are late to adopt the technology?
Sure there is often an upfront investment in setting up new software or systems and training employees to operate it smoothly, but in the second, third, and fourth year onwards the cost savings and benefits will start to outweigh the costs. According to Forbes, these are the advantages of investing in new tech opportunities:
Rather than having information on paper and in emails businesses can keep them all in one location, for example, i4T Business keeps all access information, customer contact information, quote, and job instructions all in the one place so that anyone can access it when they need it, including the Tradespeople who are doing their job on-site.
There should never be a need to “phone the boss” to see what needs to be done. Imagine having to wait for hours after a job is completed to get approval on a quotation. It can cost you and your business time and money. Rather if the business owner simply uses a Field Service Management Software, then it can all be contained in one place.
As an added advantage of using the software within the business, the Tradespeople working on-site will simply proceed with the necessary procedure. The productivity in the business will be improved through time savings by completing invoices quicker and getting paid quicker. Once again, taking i4T Business as an example enables you to invoice from the field and get paid by credit card before you leave the site. Significantly improving cash flow and saving you time in preparing invoices and chasing people who owe you money.
Cost Reduction and Profit Boost
Better communication and improved efficiency can not help but improve profitability.
Sure software gets hacked, the gaps in technology exist but this is not that common, it is more likely that you will leave your diary or paperwork behind losing information or exposing it to your competition or client.
How to Maximise your ROI
If you are convinced after going through the advantages, and if you are considering investing in technology for your business then, you can take a couple of tips from XERO’s One Step Report (November 2021) which suggests the following strategies:
Developing a Decision Matrix to Compare Different Options.
Firstly you need to understand which type of software will best suit your business. There are lots of options and they often have advantages over each other. To identify which of these options will improve your business efficiency, you need to decide what is important for you and then rank each option against these criteria.
Undertaking a Cost/Benefit Analysis
Costs vs Benefits- As a business owner, you need to weigh the benefits against the costs and analyze whether the software is worth the investment. Each software varies in terms of its costs, subscription and training period. Decide what are the likely costs and what are the likely benefits of the software?
Don’t discount intangible benefits such as meeting customer expectations, if they are seeing technology used by other suppliers and not by your business, what does that say to them about your professionalism?
Talk to other people that are using the Software.
You wouldn’t hire a new team member without checking their reference now would you? So why invest in software without consulting others. Use the same practice and ask people who are using the software. See where you can dig deeper than the references the software providers give you.
When you follow these tips when deciding to invest in new software, all you have left to do is to consider whether the software will help you grow your business. To give you an example, i4T Business is one such software that allows Field Service Suppliers to expand their business and grow with different product verticals.
You can start your business as a sole trader by using the i4T Business Lite platform and in the future when you grow your business with more Tradespeople (Employees) you can switch to a better-accustomed platform such as the i4T Business Standard or Pro.
So for the last but not the least what happens when you decide to invest in new technology?
Everyone Hates Change
People will resist the new technology, to be able to overcome the hate you need to first be aware of it, you need to provide both a big picture purpose for the new technology as well as practical day-to-day help.
In my Fire Protection Maintenance Business, we were using software to meet customer expectations, courier drivers and other trades were using Software in the field. If we were to uphold our value of being “professional” and following “best practice” then we also needed to invest in technology. And to help support one another we set up a user group on WhatsApp where people could post problems and all of us could help solve them.
Lack of Adequate Training
It takes you three or four years to complete an apprenticeship, we need to follow a similar process of teaching, showing, supporting, and coaching when introducing new software.
We need to acknowledge that change takes time within a business, which is why we must provide adequate training to the people so that they don’t get easily frustrated or bored before completely understanding the efficiency of the software.
Another good reason why programs like i4T Business often include video tutorials that enable you to understand how each part of the program works at your speed.
So What is your Next Step?
Next time you hear yourself responding negatively to a suggestion that you need to adopt new technology, stop and consider it analytically rather than responding based on your resistance to change – which we all have.