Intro: Working in a digital world has it’s pluses, tech and automation is making running a small business smoother than a baby’s bottom in many ways. However it is very easy for the proverbial to hit the fan very quickly when your techie tools break. Having always been a tech orientated brain I’ve had the title of techie fixerer follow me around from day one of working as an Administration Trainee and funnily enough is where my business helps out the most. More often than not I have clients come running to me like their hair is on fire when tech is not being cooperative – and I wanted to help run you through the tips that I follow when it comes to fixing it!
Tip 1: Don’t Panic
Yeah, I know, I hear you, I said clients come to me in full fight or flight mode – and in all honesty, I take on their panic mode when I first get the calls or emails – so I have to whisper this to myself too. This momentary hiccup will not last forever – deep breaths and focus on what needs to be done.
Tip 2: Don’t Get Overwhelmed By Tech
First thing I hear from clients is – I’m not good with tech or tech scares me. And more often than not – those phrases are what holds them back from even attempting to look into the problem. Being scared of the tech means you’re not going to get the most out of it for your business – making friends with the tech will allow you to understand how and why things do what they do. Repeat after me: tech is my friend (even though it isn’t being very cooperative right now).
Tip 3: Break Down The Steps
It’s very easy to focus on the fact that this one software is broken and isn’t doing what it is meant to do. Yes that may be the case, but you need to know where that piece of software falls inside the bigger picture of what it is doing for the business. If the break is causing a massive domino effect that is stopping a number of further steps from happening then you need to drill into that specific software and getting it fixed. However, if it is something that is slightly not a significant issue, then is it possible to look at a workaround for the short term while you fix the bigger issue.
Tip 4: Follow the Yellow Brick Road – Test Each Step
The best way I’ve found is once I’ve got an idea of the steps, then you follow the yellow brick road, and walk through what is meant to be happening and see if you can pinpoint where it’s stopping. If you know exactly what or where the issue is from word go – great. Then look at what settings may be not set correctly, retrace your steps through how it was set up and make sure whether the checkboxes are checked correctly, i’s are dotted, t’s are crossed. So many times one hiccup has been caused by a checkbox being correctly / incorrectly checked or a connection to a different app has dropped out or had an incorrect password entered when things were set up initially.
Tip 5: Don’t Upend Everything Trying Multiple Fixes At Once
I know you want to try all of the things all at once just to get it working – but you need to take a measured approach. Changing all of the settings all at once and hitting save may break things even further. Just changing one setting, then retrying it, then changing the next thing, then retry. Throwing multiple things at the wall and trying to get it to stick may end up with you having multiple issues to clean up off the floor at the end of it all and still no wiser in fixing the problem.
Tip 6: Join Official and Local User Groups for your Software
This has been a huge plus for me – being in official (usually Facebook) groups run by the software company themselves or for the specific software users located in your country brings you a huge wealth of collective information and knowledge that you can’t get from the help documentation. You will also find discussions around how different businesses are utilising the software for them and take inspiration from how they run processes. And when things do break, you’ll more than likely find others that encounter the same issue as you so the threads of solutions and ideas are a great source of options to try to fix your issue.
Note – I’m not saying join every single group for every single software or app conceivable to man – just the ones that you are specifically using currently in your business or you may be exploring using for your business. If you aren’t going to use it, then leave the group quietly.
Tip 7: Make Friends With Google
Yes, I’m going to admit this in a public forum – one of my best business tools is my friend Google. In all honesty, one of my super powers is being really good at Googling. What I mean by that is drilling down my search terms in a very specific way so that I don’t get dragged down multiple rabbit holes into websites and pages that aren’t helpful. I’m also very specific in what pages I do look at for guidance and solutions. I will look at the support and help pages of the app/software first before a random Q&A forum wall for a tech website I’ve never heard of before. Being selective on where you look for help is key in finding the information that is going to help you find the solution to your problem.
Tip 8: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
I know I’ve been advocating for problem solving yourself – there also is a time and place for putting your hand up and asking for help. This self-taught techie head has learned a lot from self-learning but I have also spent time reaching out to others who are much smarter than me in different software and skillsets and asking for help. When my usual ports of call don’t bring a solution – I seek out others who are in the same space as me and either ask for help or ask whether they are available to take on the client and sort out their issue. Knowing when to pull up stumps on a problem that you can’t get to the bottom of is huge too.
A Techie Tinkerers Tips – In A Nutshell
Unfortunately tech does break sometimes – but getting curious and structured in how you approach fixing it will get you a long way to making friends with your tech.
And when all else fails – have you tried turning it off and on again? (yes, one for the IT Crowd fans)
This article was written by Korryn Haines – Admin Ninja and Tech Whisperer. Encore Admin Consulting helps solopreneurs and business owners structure, streamline and self-manage their administration and tech needs. I help business owners match their abilities and personalities to admin needs, through one to one attention, that’s warm, generous, packed with knowledge and a dash of humour too.