Often I hear business owners complain that they feel completely overwhelmed at all the options available to them in using technology as a tool to grow their businesses.
These complaints are especially echoed when hearing presentations on using technology for business solutions.
They feel overwhelmed in two areas (1) they don’t know how to leverage all the technology tools available to them and (2) they feel that they don’t have the resources to implement many of the solutions that are available to them.
Technology is VERY cheap. So the cost for the actual technology is not very expensive.
Online backup, CRM, email marketing, Facebook, Twitter, etc. All of these solutions can be had for free or very low monthly fees.
The biggest problem is finding good people, with the expertise, who can help you implement the solutions in your business.
Having a local technology consultant is your first step. However, you might also need an expert in web site programming, e-commerce, online marketing, or other solutions. Welcome to the world of outsourced experts. You don’t have to add more to your payroll, but you can hire experts to help you move individual projects, as part of a business plan, forward.
A “virtual assistant”, for solo-entrepreneurs, one who is well versed in a range of communication technologies (such as email marketing, Twitter, etc) should be the second professional you consider, after your technology consultant. For those of you who have larger small businesses consider assigning one of your staff to learn a range of communication and other tools. This person can work with your technology consultant, or they can directly implement these solutions for your business.
For example, maybe you find that QuickBooks, out of the box, is not good enough for you.
A solution like Fishbowl Inventory costs $5,000 for a three user license. You should know about inventory management, but instead of implementing the solution on your own, work with a QuickBooks professional who has the expertise.
Online marketplaces such as Elance, People to Work With (P2W2), Guru.com, and MediaBistro help you find experts who can provide the expertise your business needs – for technology or other wise.
Other sources of experts are the vendors they have in house experts and/or external partners who are experts in a variety of solutions.
For example, QuickBooks Pro Advisors, can help with QuickBooks and Microsoft Small Business Consultants are experts in technology for small businesses. If you need a security consultant, security vendors such as Symantec, TrendMicro and McAfee can assist. Ned email marketing help? Experts from Constant Contact, Campaigner, Vertical Response can help.
Here’s a little video showing you the benefits of getting help. Benefits include having more time to focus on other things and getting an expert to help you implement projects you need done.
Technology should not make you feel dumb, helpless or overwhelmed.
Sometimes when you hear technology experts speak, you might think that you should know everything they know. However, this is not the case. Think about your own expertise. Marketing? Chair making? Accounting? Car repair? Plumbing? Fashion? I bet many of the technology experts, like myself, you hear speaking, are not experts in many (if any) of the above skills. You are. But they are not dumb.
We’re all experts in something. Those things we are not experts in, we can find experts to fill in the gaps.