When you mention the word technology to some, they light up; when you say it to others, they shudder. Our lives are filled with decisions to make regarding the role technology plays in our daily lives. The development of technology is fast and furious, whether you're trying to decide whether to upgrade to the latest iPhone or switch to streaming TV. I just upgraded my smartphone a month ago, and it's already a generation behind.
Try as we might, we can't avoid it. We have to make decisions about how we want to run our business and what software or hardware is best. I will share the top five tips I use to make important technology decisions.
Identify the problem you are trying to solve.
Before you decide what technology to add to your business, you need to identify the problem you're trying to solve. Ask yourself what area of your business is causing you the most pain or taking up the most time? Then ask others in your network or industry for recommendations. Investing in software should be motivated by need; otherwise, you will find yourself investing in software you never use.
Identify the top three software or hardware solutions.
Once you've identified your need, try to find at least three software solutions for comparison. There are a lot of websites that do all the work for you. Go to any search engine and use a search string like (insert software)+vs, and you will find other software to compare to the one you have. You can also search 'top CRMs' or 'top social media sites.
Take advantage of the free trial.
Almost every software company offers a free trial; take advantage of it. Make sure you add the expiration date to your calendar as a reminder for you to decide before the trial ends.
During the free trial:
- Get a feel for whether the interface is easy to use.
- Check out their customer service to see if they are responsive.
- Compare and contrast all the features in the packages they offer.
Visit the social media user groups.
Every reputable software company I've used has a social media presence. Look for their official Facebook page & group. Sometimes you will find official and unofficial user groups. Make sure you take some time to see what people who have been using the product have to say. Use hashtags to get more information. For example, try #(insert software name) on Facebook or Twitter, and you will get even more results to help you make your decision.
Learn something new every day.
Even the best software has a learning curve. Look for any available tutorials, case studies, and training videos provided by the company. Are the videos high quality? Do they provide easy-to-understand instructions? How many training videos do they have? When I invest in new software, I am committed to learning one new thing every day to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Spending as little as 5-minutes per day is enough to watch a video or press a few buttons.
Some people find it difficult to know where to start. To run an online business successfully, you need quite a bit of technology. Getting what you need at the right time and knowing how to use it is crucial. Many of my clients struggle to make these important decisions. Therefore, I created a Facebook group that brings people together around technology. My Office Pro Tips & Tricks. is a community of small business owners and busy professionals asking questions and learning from together. It's not necessary to figure everything out by yourself. You are invited to join the My Office Pro Tips & Tricks community today!