Recently we started a discussion about technology tips for small businesses. This week we will look at the most challenging of them all:
Technology Tips: #1 Embrace Technology– Like there’s a choice in
Computers, Internet, phones, fax, the Internet of Things, whether you’re a financier or a farmer, you can’t get by without technology. The key is to know what technology to employ, and more importantly, whether you’re up to the task of administering and maintaining that technology.
Years ago, if you started a business, you didn’t need technology tips, you needed money; you rented space, bought some desks and file cabinets, a couple of phones, a fax machine, a copier, a couple of PCs and a printer. You communicated by phone and email. If you needed to fax a document, you likely printed it, signed it and then put it on the fax machine. What you had was lots of paper and lots of independently operating equipment.
Today’s office technology integrates everything, so that same fax correspondence never makes it to a piece of paper. You create it, electronically sign it, send it, and store a record copy in a virtual folder without ever leaving your computer. Maybe you use a server that connects to all of the computers in your office acting as a central repository and sometimes housing the software applications that are shared by multiple computers. You may even use an offsite server and colocation as a digital file cabinet for data storage and backup.
The irony of all this integration of equipment is that it can be a real nightmare to administer and maintain. The efficiencies that are achieved can certainly improve your bottom line by saving time and money – until it fails.
Keeping up with emerging technology can be a full time job. Hardware, computers, servers, and phones, are constantly advancing. Many software applications seem to need weekly updates. As software becomes more sophisticated, the hardware that houses and runs it needs to follow suit or the software won’t operate properly.
How do you keep up?
If you are fortunate enough to employ an IT person, many of these concerns are addressed — at least for 40 hours a week. Unless you have an entire IT department (and what small business does?) who will monitor things during the other 16 hours a day and on weekends?
If you’re starting a business today, before you rent the space and buy the equipment, it’s technology tips you need.
Talk to a business technology consultant:
- Determine the technology needs that may be unique to your business
- Fine the most cost-effective solutions
- Assess your ability to manage those solutions
- If necessary, contract for the services you can’t or don’t want to manage
In addition to more than a century of developing innovative office technology for our own operations, OTELCO and the Otelco family of companies have been advising and assisting businesses in locations around the US including Alabama, Missouri, West Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Who better to help with the communication technology for your business?