In life, nothing stays the same. If you attempt to not change yourself or your business, life will continue evolving and you will soon find yourself behind. You can see this play out in business every day. The employee whom was once a top performer, but did not grow or develop their skills, soon finds that they are no longer the cream of the crop. Or the business that isn’t constantly finding more innovative ways to create or deliver their products and services soon discovers declining revenue and a changing marketplace.
Change is going to happen and as business leaders you must embrace change as a core strategy. Just recently, Google adjusted their search engine algorithm to favor mobile-friendly sites by analyzing your website’s mobile compatibility. If you website failed the assessment, you lost your Google search results placement falling farther down the display list. Many companies were aware of this change and took proactive action, where just as many other companies discovered this after the fact and were left playing catch up. I would even venture to say that some companies probably still haven’t realized this change has taken place and will continue to see their web traffic decline.
One area I believe gets overlooked with many small businesses is the area of technology strategy and innovation. Most organizations treat technology as a project: “We need a new website” or “We need to upgrade our software.” In reality, technology should be a strategic topic much like sales or marketing would be within your organization. Technology can streamline operations, offer new ways to manage and communicate to your customers, provide efficiencies so that you can grow without adding additional human resources, etc. Someone on your team needs to be in charge of not just technology project implementation, but technology strategy.
Can you imagine having a team member providing new innovative approaches to reaching new customers, maintaining client relationships or improving operations? One of their key performance metrics could be how have they streamlined the business and improved productivity through the use of technology. What are they doing to challenge the status quo? They could be researching trends unfolding within your industry, investigating new strategies larger firms are deploying, and truly becoming your competitive advantage by making your firm cutting edge.
I think many leaders are not investing in the technology area of their business enough. They have become stagnate or reactionary. Unfortunately, if you are not investing and strategizing every month and every year on how to benefit from technology and software advances within your business, you will soon become less relevant in your marketplace and may find it harder to compete.
What is your technology strategy? Do you have separate objectives for technology and innovation in your plan as you would for sales or profit? If you don’t, you should think about adjusting your perspective and make technology a key strategic aspect of your business operation and growth.