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Technology

Small business owners doing more crap thanks to technology

We hear a lot of arguments for small business owners to embrace technology, but all I know is that new technology has made it possible for me to do more and more things I never wanted to do.

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We hear a lot of arguments for small business owners to embrace technology. Almost every job has been made faster and cheaper than ever, and in some industries the cost of starting a business has fallen from $500k to $5k.

But how has it played out in real life for you? Are you working less hours than ever? Is business easier than ever? Have your profits exploded?

All I know is that new technology has made it possible for me to do more and more things I never wanted to do.

What kind of crap do you do?

Thanks to technology, an average small business owner can do more than ever for themselves. Building and maintaining a website, accounting, photography, online advertising, social media marketing, scheduling, rostering, invoicing, and more.

"You shouldn’t be doing crappy tasks just because technology has made them now slightly less crappy."

And this doesn’t even include delivering your product or service!

You know the frustration of doing too much crap, if you can relate to Google queries like this:

  • Why have my ads been disallowed
  • How to change font size HTML
  • Why is my website down
  • How to take pro photos with iPhone
  • Free stock photo money flushing toilet

Do you see what we’ve been reduced to? Umm weren’t we meant to be saving the world or mastering our craft or doing something that matters to us?

Where does good turn bad?

Each time technology makes a job smaller, it should save your business money, and free up time. So where are my happy days and greener pastures?

The problem occurs when we start moving these small jobs over onto our own to do list. Marketing messages that tell us “now you can do it all yourself” are so seductive that we fill up our list gleefully as if we have free labour to spare. Instead of freeing ourselves, we tie up our most important resource.

What can we do?

Stop giving all your time away to crappy tasks, even if technology makes them less crappy.

There was a reason you started this business. Maybe it was a passion, an opportunity in the market, or an opportunity for a better lifestyle, and your real job is to capture that opportunity.

Outsourcing is one way to move things off your plate, but it does cost money, and it’s not the only way to make things faster and cheaper.

Simplify your operations

Technology is often sold to us as a way of making life simpler, but what we end up with is a lot more tools and a lot more things to get done.

Start thinking about ways you can simplify as an alternative to technology.

  • Simpler shipping prices remove the need for that fancy shipping costs plugin.
  • Simpler pricing streamlines your quoting process and your invoicing (and increase sales).
  • Adopting a raw documentary style for your brand could save on photo or video editing (and add authenticity).
  • Find a distributor for your products or services. If your business model no longer depends on marketing directly to end users, you could reduce your dependency on things like SEO and Social Media.

By making things simpler wherever you can, you won’t depend on so many tools, and your to-do list gets shorter, not longer.

Time to think technology second?

The next time you get all excited about a fancy new piece of software (or hardware), just remember not to get sucked into doing crappy tasks just because technology has made them now slightly less crappy.

Are you making the mistake of doing too many crappy tasks thanks to technology?

Dave Gillen

improves under-performing AdWords campaigns at Bankable Online Marketing in Brisbane.

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