July 15, 2014  
 
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Embracing New Technology

Written by Andrew Goldman for Gaebler Ventures

New technologies or systems can be intimidating for the small business owner. Don't let these feelings stand in the way of learning new processes that can help your business.

I have visited many small businesses that have been around for a long time yet have suffered because they have failed to embrace new or improved technologies and systems.
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If you are a small business that has been around for a while or you are just starting up, make sure you're aware of new and improved systems and technology that could help your business out.

When I ask why a new technology or system has not been utilized, the small business owner typically sites cash and ignorance as reasons for not going forward.

If cash is preventing you from obtaining a new system or technology, it's time for some financial homework. Calculate the return on investment for the new system and see if it would be worth the investment. If it's something that will help your business, obtaining a loan or other source of financing may be a prudent move.

The second reason for not embracing new systems and technology, ignorance, is unacceptable. You cannot fear learning new technology or new systems. A little reading on the topic or some discussion with others can lead to a better understanding of the issues at hand. Some of the technical jargon can be intimidating, but it should not stand in the way of obtaining something that can greatly impact the company in a positive way.

I visited an advertising agency recently that had several clients, including one large wholesaler. The company advertised exclusively on television, and understood this arena very well. The agency, however, was losing customers due to a lack of internet advertising.

It was a small agency and the owner had the majority of the say in what went on within the company. He was an older gentleman and did not understand (or wish to understand) about the world of internet advertising. His skill was in television advertising and he was somewhat intimidated by the internet advertising process.

After reading some literature and attending a couple of lectures, the small business owner changed his view of the process. While at first, internet advertising seemed like an intimidating venture, he quickly changed his mind and realized he was more than capable of handling this endeavor.

Within one year, the company and its owner were advertising online and realizing increased success. Had the owner never taken the steps to learn the new process, they might still be losing customers today.

If there is something out there that can improve our business, increase our revenue or reduce our costs, we want to be aware of them and hopefully utilize them.

Many of these positives will go undiscovered and unrealized if we are unable to make the leap. Don't be intimidated by technology, it's usually a lot easier once you understand the process.

Always take measures to improve your company and increase your own knowledge, it will pay off in the long run.

Andrew Goldman is an Isenberg School of Management MBA student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has extensive experience working with small businesses on a consulting basis.

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