I read a lot every week. Much of it pertains to technology and how to use it to make a business owner’s life easier – mine included. The landscape upon which we all do business is rapidly changing – there is so much new stuff to understand. techsifts
I have never been much of a Star Trek fan but at the rate that technology is unfurling these days, we are just moments away from the adventures of The Enterprise being about as cutting edge as the antics of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. (It’s just a comparative exaggeration, Techjunkien please don’t send hate mail if you’re a Trekkie)
Trying to keep up and understand all the tech tools is just the first part. Next you have to figure out how and if you should use them in your business – whether they will improve or confuse things for you, your staff or your customers. This can all be truly overwhelming,
especially for the veteran business owner who remembers when being on the cutting edge involved adding a fax machine to the office.
Raise your hand if, like me, you cautiously embraced this extremely high tech (for the times) gadget that seemed to speak the same language as R2-D2 – and not fully convinced of its usefulness but willing to give it a whirl. And nod if you believed that was probably the last and biggest technological leap you would ever have to make in your business?
Fast forward to the introduction of the internet for business applications.
When you’re trying to find a solution for your business or decode the jargon surrounding the latest, greatest business technology tools, sifting through the bottomless pit of information on the internet can easily become overwhelming.
Who do you believe? Who has the real facts and who is just trying to sell you on their products or services? How do you know when you need to add a tool or hire someone to add it for you? It even seems like some companies try to intentionally confuse things.
The good news is that you don’t need to become the expert on everything, nor does it make sense to try. But you should invest some time and effort in basic research before taking on a new tech tool or hiring an expert to do so for you. Here are some tips that can help you make good choices.
1. Start with Wikipedia. This is a great place to get a general overview of a topic. The entries here are usually quite reliable and in plain English. Often times what you read here can serve as a spring board, directing you to the next thing you need to investigate on the topic.
2. Next stop, Google. You can take a few keywords or phrases out of what you learned at Wikipedia and Google them. Do this for a few different phrases and you’ll most likely notice a pattern of certain sites showing up repeatedly. Often, but not always, these are reliable sources within the industry or niche your researching.
3. Is the guru walking the talk? Is there clear evidence that the company or product claiming expertise is yielding actual results in its area? If it looks like a case of do as I say not as I do, I say don’t do it and Google on!
4. Above all else, trust your gut. Your first instinct is usually right. That’s why your teachers always told you to go with your first answer on a multiple choice test.
The bottom line is this: when it comes to embracing new techie tools for your business: if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and you and your customers could use a good duck, then go for it. Sometimes you may decide that it’s best to waddle away and check out another pond!