Why technology can’t always save a failing business

By Henry Brown

“Why is my business failing?”

It’s a question that many entrepreneurs and small business owners find themselves asking. They question if what they’re doing is right or wrong. Perhaps it’s the staff they have hired, maybe it’s their lack of inspiration, or perhaps the business idea just plain doesn’t work. One of the things a lot of people end up blaming is their lack of technology. If they had some more expensive computers, better equipment and more knowledgeable staff that knew how to use said equipment, then they’d be better off.

It’s a sentiment that can be understood. After all, if you’re that rare business that operates without an Internet connection, then you won’t be able to reach a very wide audience and you’d be lucky to get any exposure. To many people, technology is indispensable and without rooms filled with computers and server hardware, it would be almost impossible to run a business.

But take a moment and think about this: what did people do before computers?

In the past, people didn’t have the Internet or computers, yet they still managed to build enormous businesses that made a lot of money. So why then do we rely on computers so much? Let’s delve into this topic with more detail and find out why exactly makes a business successful, and why less reliance should be placed on technology and computers as the source of success.

Not everyone is qualified to start a business

Several decades ago, there were fewer businesses around. Nowadays, startups pop up all over the place due to the ease of setting up a business and how little money you need to start. In addition, it’s easier to get exposure, and it’s now a viable startup strategy to be crowdfunded by fans or consumers that like your ideas. This is a huge boon to anyone that wants to start a business on their own accord without having to pitch their ideas to investors or banks. Unfortunately, this also means that a lot of unqualified people are starting businesses with no idea about what they’re doing.

Essentially, what this means is that you have a lot of clueless business owners that rely far too much on technology to get things done. For instance, they’ll completely forget about traditional marketing such as using flyers, newspaper advertisements and only focus on digital marketing. While it’s a cheaper solution that embraces technology, it’s also not as effective as using a multi-pronged marketing campaign that garners better results by using a mix of media.

In short, just because you can start a company doesn’t mean you have the qualifications to actually run it and make it successful. Don’t listen to people just because they have a single company or because they’ve gone through 5 different startups in the past. Experience helps, but ultimately if you don’t know what you’re doing, then you won’t have a successful business.

Technology assists traditional methods

Technology should be seen as a way to improve existing methods. For instance, if we talk about communication, we all know how convenient emailing and live chat systems are. They allow for instant response, giving your customers quick feedback and help with anything they need. However, if you’re unsure how to communicate with your customers and you’re rude or don’t understand how to help someone with their issues, then what use are these technologies going to be?

You need to think of technology as a way to assist and improve your existing methods. For instance, there are many employee scheduling strategies that you can use to ensure all of your staff are given the correct shifts and work the right hours. Regardless of if you use technology (such as a scheduling app or cloud-based program) or pen and paper to distribute work hours, you won’t be able to do it effectively if you don’t already have experience.

Final words

So can technology save a failing business? Yes. There are absolutely ways that technology can breathe new life into an otherwise stale or failing business. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as adding a computer or two to your office and it’s not as easy as hiring a specialist employee. If you don’t already know how to run a business and do specific tasks such as managing employees or keeping records, then there’s little technology can do to help you.

Think of it this way; if you don’t know how to draw, would spending a lot of money on paints, brushes and a canvas, as recommended by an expert, help you at all? Absolutely not. There are several layers that you need to learn in order to paint like an expert and use those tools correctly. The same counts for business. If you don’t understand how to run a business at a foundation level, then there’s no amount of technology that could do it for you.

Running a business is as much about creativity as it is logic and reasoning. If there’s anything you take away from this article, then make it the realization that bigger, better, newer technology isn’t going to save your business if it’s slumping—it may even make it worse if you don’t know how to use it appropriately to improve customer service and employee efficiency.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

 

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