By: Jason Eisenberg Community Program Manager for Office Depot
What does it mean when your business is ‘tech savvy’? It’s one of those buzz words floating around in many entrepreneurial conversations. Everyone likes to believe they are tech savvy this day and age because they can operate their tablet or smartphone. But that’s not it. If your business is tech savvy, you should already see the benefits of using tech-friendly tools both in the back office and at the entrance of your brick and mortar store.
Let’s put it this way as shown in The Internet Experts Blog. You would think all teenagers (and most Millennials) are tech savvy because they were born essentially with a smartphone in their hand. But the argument is while they know how to search the web, create memes and stalk their former significant others on mobile (or touch screens), they still need to hone-in computer-specific skills such as mouse and keyboard navigation, troubleshooting (networks/hardware), spreadsheet creation, security and privacy, and more.
So how does a business become more tech savvy today? There are a lot of routes you can take, your first focal point depends on where your business stands and where you want to take it. Ask these questions to help pinpoint an area of focus.
A brick and mortar business looking to scale online?
Do you want more convenience for your employees/customers at your business?
At the end of the day, you’ll probably want to have an answer to all the questions above if your business is looking to be more tech savvy. But to do any of these, you’ll need to attack this task the right way. Here are four major steps that can help to get your business more tech savvy the easy way, and the responsible way. Remember, it’s best that you don’t take on this transition all by yourself whether it’s your own employees or a reputable third party service. The last thing you want to do is get bogged down on becoming tech savvy only to lose focus on your core business.
Be Honest with Your Working Knowledge Level, Set Goals
The only thing you’re hurting when you lie to yourself is your business and potentially your employees. Don’t let pride get in the way of you taking an earnest step in becoming more tech literate. It’s a big and crucial step for anyone looking to own a thriving business today – yes, even if you think your physical bookstore has no need for a tech overhaul.
You might have a professional developing your website (good for you, you delegation machine, you!), but if it were me, I’d like to at least know the vernacular and something about my website so I don’t get pushed out of the loop. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you know everything. Trust that you’ve hired a knowledgeable tech and ask questions – it’s the best way to learn and look like a true leader.
One Step at a Time
There’s so much to consider when you can add technology to multiple facets of your business, it can be overwhelming. No responsible person goes 0-to-60mph before they get their driver’s license so why would you do the same for your business. After you were honest with yourself, did your research and set goals, you should have a pretty clear idea of what you want to tackle first.
Then you break down the process into small, actionable goals. These are the building blocks of your new education. Remember school? You had to learn Algebra before you took Geometry, right?
Be Active in On and Offline Communities
On and offline communities for small business owners continue to flourish – you should join a few to gain new perspectives from folks like yourself. It makes sense tech communities have grown hand in hand with entrepreneurs because every day more owners see the long-term upside to updating tech versus the initial transitional pains of getting systems in place.
The amount of online communities on LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit alone is enough to get you started – and a lot of them offer free webinars, toolkits and education materials! When you join communities, make sure you’re in one that will address you and your concerns. There are also meetups for tech and small business owners in virtually every city. And speaking for myself, I find these in-person meetups incredibly valuable because I’m networking and learning at the same time.
There is No Finish Line – Keep Learning
Luckily, if you’ve read this far you’re probably an entrepreneur and don’t have to be told to, “always be learning”. Technology is changing the world we live in exponentially faster than it used to. For example, social media strategies are in a constantly changing ecosystem. In 2017, the use of reaction polls on Facebook exploded reach for multiple media outlets. But less than a half a year later, the social media platform said this tactic could be a detriment to your business page’s EdgeRank. If you’re not paying attention and keeping your pulse on the constant changes, something that helped your page could suddenly bury it.
Whether you have employees capable of handling the transition or look to tech professionals at Office Depot who can help your business become more tech savvy every step of the way, having the right mindset above can make it a smoother transition. Now go get techie!
About the Author Jason Eisenberg is the Community Program Manager for Office Depot, specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. Based out of one of the most exciting cities for startups – Austin, TX – Jason is plugged into the business community, often connecting with thought leaders, entrepreneurs and strategists to help identify and find solutions to common pain points all business owners share.
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All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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