You probably think your business or practice has more technology than you need. After all, you have a computer workstation in every office space. You have a website. And you have a digital marketing campaign. If you are not really into technology, you probably don’t realize how important these things are. After all, your father and grandfather ran the business just fine when there was no such thing as a computer. Like flowers and candy around Valentine’s Day, you probably believe that all this focus on technology is nothing more than an elaborate marketing campaign to make business owners feel like they are inadequately equipped to do business without it.
To be fair, there could be a small kernel of truth in that. Wherever a marketing win is possible, there will be those willing to exploit it. Technology companies make billions of dollars selling individuals and businesses technology they don’t really need. Apple has just announced the new iPad Pro with the M1 chip inside. Right now, that chip is a market segment bully. No low-energy chip on the market can touch it in the computer space. The MacBook Air with M1 is more powerful than the vast majority of Intel PCs a consumer is likely to consider. People will pay to get the new iPad Pro. But they will be hard pressed to justify why they needed so much power in a tablet running iPad OS.
If you don’t really understand the world of tech, it is easy to get fast-talked into buying technology you don’t need. By the same token, it is also easy to refuse technology that you absolutely need. No one can keep up with everything. You have to delegate. If you don’t have an IT department, you need an IT consultant. It is conceivable that you have more technology than you need. But the more likely scenario is that you need more technology help than you think. Here’s why:
You Can Avoid Hackers with Technology
Everyone who works in the medical industry regardless of whether you are a member of hospital administration personnel, an urgent care nurse, a hospice worker, or a doctor with her own neighborhood practice should pay attention: At this very moment, you are being targeted with a ransomware attack, or a hack to steal patient records, or a breach that leaves your financial accounts empty. That attack is happening right now and you are probably ill-equipped to do anything about it.
Protecting yourself against these sorts of attacks is just one of the reasons to contract a healthcare consulting firm. They do a lot more than manage payer contracts. One of the benefits they offer is technology consultancy. The medical practice as a whole is one of the biggest targets for criminal hackers. Everyone thinks they are too small or insignificant to be targeted until they find themselves at the wrong end of a ransomware gun. Taking measures after the fact is nice, but too late. Get your technology infrastructure up to date so that you don’t become the next headline.
You Can Also Increase Profitability
Once you learn how to use technology to protect yourself, you need to learn how to use technology to better benefit your business. It is not just about how not to lose money. It is also about how to make more of it. Here are a few things it can do for you:
- Reduce travel expenses by utilizing online meetings for situations that don’t require in-person work
- Utilize AI to streamline workflows and free up human workers to do more human-centric tasks
- Use computers to reduce errors and eliminate duplicative work
Humans are slow, inefficient, and prone to errors. That does not mean you should be looking to replace your workforce with machines. Rather, you can repurpose your workforce so they can do the type of work they are good at while allowing machines to do the type of work they do best. It is not a competition. When done right, it is a win-win for all parties.
And You Can Find New Customers
You have heard the old adage that it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than retain a current one. Some place the number as high as 25 times the cost. Using technology to its fullest will not necessarily reduce the cost of customer acquisition. But it could make each acquisition more valuable. It hardly matters if you have a lot of customers who don’t buy very much, or who never buy big-ticket, high-margin products. You don’t necessarily want more customers; you want better quality customers. This is one of the areas where the right technology can really make a difference.
Your small business might attract many cash-only customers that require very little in customer acquisition expenditures. However, you will almost always do better by attracting debit and credit card customers. Better still, what you want are Apple Pay customers. It is not a matter of class distinction. It is pure economics. People who use non-cash forms of payment will spend more. By having a cash-only business, you are actively alienating the very people who would shop with you more often and spend more money when they do. The problem with your business might not have anything to do with your products or service. It could be that you are catering exclusively to customers who can’t help you grow. Even if it costs more to acquire a good customer, the lifetime spend of that customer will be more than worth it.
Part of how you acquire and keep new customers is to be technologically available to them. If you are not easy to access from a mobile device, you don’t exist. If you are only interested in foot traffic, you are going to miss out on a lot of finger traffic.
Chances are, you do not have too much technology in your business. You need enough to protect you against constant cyberattacks, increase your profitability, and help you acquire the right customers that can help you advance your business.