Technology is wonderful for business, make no mistake. It helps you deliver a more efficient, consistent and effective outcome. For instance, using technology to improve efficiency with compliance and administrative activities gives you more time and resources to apply to value-producing activities like marketing and sales.

But we can also fall into the trap of spending money on software and technology that we don’t really need.

You’re in business to make a profit. And you should use technology to help you increase profit.

Free or paid apps?

Most technology-based tools of any value to a business come at a price. Sure, there are free versions of many tools but they often impose limitations on volume of data and/or access to features. After all, the vendor needs to make money too. They want you to upgrade to a fee-paying ‘business version’ of the app.

Free software tools may be the first production version of a new tool. The developer keeps it free to make it more accessible and increase user numbers. With more people using their software, they obtain more feedback from users. This tells them important information about how well it meets the needs of users, what the priority areas are for improvement, and what additional features or capabilities are needed. The software developers then use this feedback to develop a better product that more people are willing to pay for, hopefully at a higher price.

Free versions or software products that have small numbers of users may seem like a bargain at first. But this type of technology can create other inefficiencies in your processes.

A ‘work around’ using a manual process or by using another piece of software to ‘fill a gap’ can result in this new process being less efficient than the one you had before!

Use what you’ve paid for!

Vendor-driven solutions like Microsoft Office 365 and Teams, and Google contain many different applications and tools as part of your software subscription that you may not be aware of. You may not need that bright, shiny new software because you already have access to an application that does exactly what you need, as part of your Microsoft or Google or Apple software.

There are also plug-ins to help connect and integrate data between different applications and processes.

Don’t pay for additional software before reviewing what you already have.

Hiring the right expertise

There is also a value in knowing how to use technology effectively. That may require the expertise of a professional.

Technology allows you to be more efficient but if you don’t know how to pilot the spaceship you end up with more garbage in the wrong place, faster!

Just because you have a brand-new tool doesn’t mean you’re going to be more efficient.

This is where getting advice from an experienced professional helps you optimise the results from implementing new technology or processes.

Often, they can help you implement a new system (tool) or process that adds value to your business in terms of:

  • Efficiency
  • Time saved
  • Better quality outputs
  • A more scalable system
  • A better work environment

You should be using technology, processes and systems to get better results like these in your business.

Have you got the right hardware?

Laptops have become the staple piece of computer hardware for businesses and employees. But just working with a laptop can be inefficient. It has been proven that working with 2 or more screens can improve efficiency due to not having to switch programs continually.

Standard monitor sizes are larger than typical laptop screens and should be used to make reading data and reviewing files easier and quicker.

Docking stations and travel docks allow you to quickly connect additional monitors, full size keypads, mice and other hardware, without wasting time with plugs and cords.

Get clear on what you want to achieve

The use of technology is meant to enable you to run a more efficient business and increase profit. You increase profit by raising the sales price, volume and/or frequency to the right customers. Being able to deliver sales of your product or service more effectively also increases profit.

So, technology needs to support the sales and production processes that will provide the best outcome to your business.

Designing and implementing these processes are critical steps to get right. Failure to plan by carefully determining the desired outcomes can result in higher costs, frustration, and lost opportunities.

So, when designing any new system or introducing a new process, first ask yourself:

“What do I want to achieve?”

“What’s the benefit of the process that I am trying to create?”

“What value or saving do I expect to achieve by doing this?”

“What is the expected timeframe for seeing that result?”

Answering these questions helps you identify what you want the process, system or tool to do. It also helps to put a value on the expected benefit in terms of increased sales, reduced cost, time saved, better sales conversions, etc.

Having identified what you want the process, system or tool to do, you need to make it happen.

And doing that will then help you increase profit in your business.

If you have reviewed your software and computer hardware needs and are looking for deals, check out some of the best deals on Amazon here.

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