5 Steps to Finding Technology That Works for You

Jul 5, 2011, Written by Sue Miley

Technology has brought so many tools to small business owners.  Sometimes it is overwhelming because there are so many to choose from.

What is the best iPad handwriting app?

Do I use gmail, me.com, outlook or some other email?

Which social media dashboard is best?

Is Quickbooks, Peach Tree or Money the best accounting software?

The questions are endless.

Many give up and stick to their legal pads and green ledger sheets.  Some don’t use any systems and end up trying to keep it all in their head.

The Benefits I Have Found to Embracing Technology in My Business

I have learned a couple of things in diving into technology solutions for my business:

  1. Technology helps me to be so much more efficient , eliminating the need to hire people to help me with administration.
  2. With technology I can actually do most of my own marketing – at least the kind most small businesses engage in.
  3. Technology has made resources available on demand for information, research, and education across almost any topic in the world.

For me, technology has been the driver in my business for staying connected, managing my business, marketing, and increasing my business knowledge.

So back to the original issue:

How do I choose?

  1. Decide what problem you or trying to solve.  Or what opportunity for efficiency and improvement you are looking for.  Example:  I want to eliminate all of my paper notes to improve organization and reduce filing and storage needs.
  2. Research available options. Example:  I looked at digital pens that recorded what you wrote.  I had one of the first Toshiba tablets.  Finally, with my iPad 2 I began researching the most popular handwriting apps.
  3. Trial and Error. Example:  The cost of handwriting apps are low:  Free to $4.99.  Because of the low barrier to entry I downloaded the top rated apps that matched my particular needs.
  4. Select and Lean into It. Whatever you choose there is a learning curve.  If you don’t really learn all of the uses, and dive into using your new tool, it will never stick.  Example:  None of the handwriting apps felt comfortable at first.  Once I made my choice I used it for everything to really get used to it.  I even watched the video tutorials for the quick tips.
  5. Add it to the Toolbox.  Now that I am comfortable with writing on the iPad I use it for all of my notes.  It is part of my everyday tools.

The Most Important Step:  Lean Into It

The lean in to it step is the most important.  Even the best tools, if you never really figure them out, turn out to be a disappointment.

I remember when I got my first iPhone.  I was positive my thumbs were too big for the letters and that I would never be able to really use the features.  A week later I was a speed demon.

When I first started using Mint.com for personal finances I couldn’t get my accounts to all sync.  A ton of transactions fell into uncategorized. using Mint seemed like too much work.

But others kept raving about how great Mint was for them.  I kept thinking, if others can figure this out, so can I.  I embrace technology after all.  I jumped back in and worked on Mint daily for a week or so.  Once it was all set up, it was a huge benefit for budgeting our personal spending.  Now it only takes a few minutes a week, but I have a great tool and over two years of financial history at my fingertips.

Don’t give up.  Technology by it’s nature is an ongoing challenge, but the benefits are worth it!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Raphael Neff says

    Sue, I love this post! At a time when many of us are pulling back from technology because of sheer overwhelm, I like the way you embrace it purposefully. Aren’t we prone to “trying” stuff, just sample or taste-testing and not really appreciating the benefits we would have if we learned it 90% of the way, rather than just 10%.

    I find these are the key steps.
    Ask the right questions. What are the key efficiencies that you want?
    Carefully select the technology that truly suits these.
    Anticipate the learning curve, and embrace it fully.

    I love your blog and website.

    Raphael

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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