Technology has significantly changed the way we do business. It can help you become more efficient and effective, being able to achieve more with less. This has leveled the playing fields between large and small companies.
Despite the advances in technology, more doesn’t necessarily mean it is better. It is important to leverage it in a SMART way. With the vast number of apps, software programs, and IT hardware, here are some SMART tips to help you get the most of your technology.
1. Become a Digital Minimalist
Author and computer science professor Cal Newport in his book “Digital Minimalism” believes we need to be more mindful of how we use technology. We have become too addicted to technology, with our lives becoming too tech-centric.
Newport describes “digital minimalism” as:
“Digital minimalism is a philosophy that helps you question what digital communication tools (and behaviors surrounding these tools) add the most value to your life. It is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise, and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter, can significantly improve your life.”Cal Newport
Digital minimalism, much like the minimalist lifestyle movement that has become quite popular, is about cleaning up your digital life and only using what you need in the most efficient way possible.
It means understanding that while technology can make you more productive, realizing this potential is not easy. It takes hard work. You want to balance out the benefits of adopting technology and the high cost of using it. In the end, it is about being intentional about using what type of technology you use and doing more with less.
2. Only Use Technology That Will Directly Help You Reach Your Mission
There are lots of companies out there who are completely hooked on the idea of “innovation.” To them, innovation is jumping from technology trends to the next trend. Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean it will help your company reach its mission and vision.
There’s a difference between “innovation” that helps you better serve your customer and “innovation” that may be cutting-edge, but doesn’t necessarily help your company. From load management software to other core business technologies, you need to be up to date on what will make your business be more competitive in your industry.
You should only use technologies where its rewards greatly outweigh its costs. It should directly lead to cost savings, making your processes more efficient, or technology like community software that enhance the customer experience. Don’t invest money, time, and energy on changing things that don’t need change.
3. Help Your Business Be More Safe and Secure
Business security is vital in today’s digital era. It is important to establish a secured network and security support system to protect client data and information, keep your shared data safe and secure, protect computer systems from harmful spyware, and to comply with ethical responsibilities and regulatory requirements.
Investing in high-quality network security will benefit your business organization, your network efficiency, and reduce expenses in the long run. There will be fewer IT issues, which in turn will boost your business profits.
4. Focus on Technologies That Help You Simplify
The technologies you use should help to streamline your life and make things “simpler” for you. It is easy to get overwhelmed with dozens of apps, software programs that overcomplicate things. The added cost to implement could be better spent elsewhere.
Use this test: does a certain tool mean that you have to think more or less? Does it mean you are more or less distracted? More or less stressed? When you have too many “moving parts” to pay attention to, the extra stress may not be worth the potential benefits.
In fact, there’s even research showing that “multitasking” makes you less productive. You don’t necessarily need your technologies to “make your life easier” but they should make it “simpler.”
5. Enhance Customer Service
Serving your customers is important. You can utilize software that allows you to respond to customer questions, interact with them, and engage them. Technology has made the world smaller, giving you the ability to interact with people halfway around the world in real-time.
The goal is to find technology that helps you serve your customer base better. It may be through a mobile app, your website, or providing over-the-internet services. Technology has revolutionized customer service and it is important to be able to continually upgrade your service abilities.
6. Restrict “Time-Sink” Technologies
Your time is very valuable. Especially as an entrepreneur, there just aren’t enough hours in a day. Any time you spend unproductively takes you further away from your dreams. You need to focus on your high priority to-do lists.
Avoid technologies that make you less productive and make you take your eye off the ball. Email has become a black hole for many people. They spend more time working in their email instead of on their email.
There are many communication and file-sharing apps that are being used to help people become more effective. However in some cases, it has backfired, where it takes more time to check emails, text messages, chats, communication logs, and other technology that was meant to help be more productive!