The best way to deal with this as a business owner is to start by addressing the way you think about change. It is quite easy to get caught up in the tidal wave of information that we are constantly bombarded with and have a panic attacks thinking of all the business you are losing by not having a mobile-friendly website, or three dozen social media profiles because you want your business name to be everywhere.
Let’s put this into context, take a breath, slow your heart rate down and step outside of your business for a while.
Technological factors are part of a wider “picture” of the environment in which a business operates, you may have heard acronyms such as PEST, STEP, STEEPLE, PESTEL, etc. well basically these are just ways of compartmentalising the wider external environment in which your business exists and they are used in business planning to scan for things that may impact your business.
To keep this simple let’s look at STEP, which stands for Social, Technological, Economic and Political/Legal. As a business owner, it is important that you remain aware of changes in all of these areas that could affect your business. For example, legislative changes to legal aid in 2013 in the UK had a significant impact upon a legal practice client that I was working with at the time.
Being aware of and adapting your business to these changes is the key to keeping ahead of the curve. Scanning the external environment will bring different results for different businesses, you may not be impacted by legal aid but there will be issues in each of the categories that affect your business.
Take a moment to write down the PEST factors for your business. How well do you understand the environment in which your business exists?
Technological factors are therefore one of a wider set of environmental factors that impact your business. Let’s look at the big one, the Internet. Tim Berners-Lee has a lot to answer for creating the pesky worldwide web in 1993 as it has been a catalyst for so many technological changes that we business owners now have to deal with.
So myriad the implications and increasingly fast is the rate of change that all areas of most businesses have been impacted in one way or another by the internet and related technologies.
Websites, email, online marketing, social media, apps, video, content marketing, these could be some of the things on your list from your STEP analysis but imagine you were analysing the technological environment in 1993 or 1994, how would your analysis look then? Different? Yes, but the process is and remains the same, analyse your external environment to assess the situation and mould your business into a form that takes advantage of what is there.
So there you go, all these words and we deal with it in one sentence. Now back to the thinking, as a business owner today you should be constantly scanning the technological (and other) landscapes for opportunities and ways you can develop your business. Changes present an opportunity for you to improve your business, connect with new customers, get more customers, increase your sales, achieve your objectives.
If you view it like this it no longer becomes daunting or overwhelming, more interesting and alluring.
What to do with this new thinking?
Put it into practice, analyse your business environment, assess where you are in that environment, ask yourself where do I want my business to be then set about working out how you are going to get there.
How will you seize the opportunity offered by social media to benefit your business?
How are you attracting more customers to your products or services?
Need capital to make it happen? There may be funding pots available via your local chamber of commerce.
Ultimately, you should be asking yourself this…
How can this changing technological landscape help you to do things better and improve my business?
Not all technological changes will be relevant or work for your business, but your mindset of thinking about and assessing these is with improving your business in mind as the goal is the real key.