If you’ve ever believed one of the following five myths about technology and its use in your business, you are not alone. Many small business owners, who regularly and easily use technology tools in their personal lives, still hesitate to use it for their business because of one or more of these commonly held beliefs:
Myth # 1: “Small businesses can’t afford technology.”
Reality – Many technology solutions are free or low cost, such as social media marketing sites (free) and data storage and back (low cost). Additionally, determining the exact type of technology tools that your business needs and then pricing those essential elements out is a key starting point.
Myth #2: “Technology can’t do what it promises. I’ve been burned before by false technology promises.”
Reality – This may not be a myth because, unfortunately, it may be something that has actually happened to you. However, it is important to distinguish between the actual technology component and marketing or sales hype surrounding that component. Again, using your past experience to focus on your business’ actual needs and matching those up with a technology solution will give your business the best return on your investment.
Myth #3: “Technology will put my business at risk. My customer data/trade secrets will be stolen.”
Reality – Being concerned about your database security is extremely important for protecting your valuable data and trade secrets. However, it shouldn’t act as an impediment to establishing your business’ web presence. Many technology solutions exist that address this problem, such as the addition of properly configured firewalls on your business computers and router and the using virus protection software. It is also a good idea to institute regular procedure for backing up your data and storing it in a safe fireproof location.
Myth #4: “My problem isn’t with technology; it’s with getting my customers to pay. Technology can’t help with that.”
Reality – Actually, technology solutions can help your customers pay faster. If your business sells services, review your business’ payment terms. Revise your payment policy to request up-front payment and send all invoices electronically at the time the services are contracted. Simple accounting software can help you keep track of unpaid invoices. Using a customer relation management tool can help you streamline your process of following up on payments due. If your business sells products, determine whether you can offer online payment options or accept credit card payments on your mobile phone. The easier it is for clients to pay, the faster they will pay.
Myth #5: “My product/service can’t be sold using technology.”
Reality – Sometimes asking yourself the right question is the key to finding the right solution. In this case, asking yourself “what you would have to change in the way that you do business to sell twice as much this year as you did last year?” may require you to consider adding technology tools to come up with a workable answer. A great way to boost sales is to launch a social media marketing campaign using free web-based tools can help get the word out about your business and its services and products. Finally, creating or re-designing your business’ website can help turn your visitors’ interest in your product into a strong desire for your product. And if you make sure that your site has an easily accessible and easy to use e-commerce shopping cart feature, you will be able to capture your visitors’ desire for your product and transform it into the action purchase your product.
For small business owners seeking to get beyond the myths, one great resource that you can access for free is a new workshop, “Boosting Your Business Using Technology” from the “Tech Made Simple” series of workshops designed through the e-Business Now Program. The workshop tackles and dismantles every myth, piece by piece, and presents easy-to-relate-to case studies of technology solutions applied by small business owners to overcome their business challenges.