Does your company keep up with the Jones? Are you staying current with the latest technology, or at least staying even with your competition? Is that enough? In most sectors, the successful companies remain ahead of their competition, generating a real strategic advantage by adopting the newest innovations to make their business excel.
Here are some metrics to use to determine if you need to invest in something new:
- To Go Faster
The faster your business can operate, the quicker it can move, or produce a product, or service customers, the better. In every area of your business, innovations are coming out to allow more speed. And you can be sure some of your competition is using these new technologies. You cannot afford to fall behind, to go slower than they go. And you only generate a competitive advantage if you go faster, usually much quicker. Constant monitoring of your speed in comparison with what is available and what the competition has is a must.
2. To Do It Better
Performing with mediocre efficiency will produce mediocre results. Streamlining your systems and processes will allow you to do more work, more accurately, with less effort. This results in more scalable solutions, the ability to take on more customers and handle them with the same reliability you always have. If a significant innovation in efficiency comes along and you don’t adopt it, you’ll be left behind by every competitor that does.
3. To Save Money
You’ve heard you have to spend money to make money? You also have to spend money to save money. New technologies allow companies to reduce old expenses and put more of their capital to work expanding the business and making a profit. Cutting down your cost when your competitors haven’t given you extra money they have tied up in legacy systems. This is one of the most significant reasons to invest in tech. Finding ways to save on the production line is excellent, but imagine if every desk had a top of the line computer. How many hours of an employee’s time would it need to save before it paid for itself and started saving you money? Chances are 40 hours would do it. Depending on the work they do, you could save 30 minutes a day, and that means saving 40 hours in only three months.
4. To Keep in Touch
Communications technology has advanced in every direction imaginable. The ability to work from home, on the road, from the beach, has created entirely new categories of workers. Video conferencing can reduce the need for cross-country flights. Cell phones and advanced VoIP technology can mean you are always available when you want to be and can forward calls to other staff when you need a break. Companies that take advantage of these innovations will attract employees who have the skills necessary but want more flexibility. And not keeping up with them will make your legacy systems seem antiquated compared to your competition.
5. To Stay Safe
With the advent of new technologies comes new dangers and threats. The need for security, physical security with card locks, internet security from viruses or hackers, system security to prevent attacks on your website, has never been higher and will continue to increase. Simply put, the technology that the hackers use will keep getting better, so your defenses have to as well. Entirely web-based businesses can be wiped out if they don’t defend themselves. Or worse yet, they can be compromised without knowing it, sometimes finding out years later that sensitive data has been lost or modified. Keeping up with the newest advances is a simple necessity.
6. Paying the Bill
The most significant reason companies don’t stay current is the expense. All this tech costs money. It’s true, but the point is all this tech will save you money or make you money. That’s what it is there for, to improve the way you do business to allow you to make more money. Still, purchasing it in the first place can put a strain on the budget. One way to make this work, and to stretch the cost over a more extended period, is to get a loan. There is a wide range of business loan interest rates available, with different payment periods. Balance the total cost of the loan against the profit or savings you anticipate from your new technology purchase. You might be surprised at how quickly tech pays for itself, like the example of the PC above.
Don’t forget to factor in the possibility of lost business if you fall behind. Technology isn’t standing still, and neither are your competitors. What’s the real cost of letting them get that money-saving tech first? Can you afford that? Investing in capital has always been priority for expanding your business.
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