It’s impossible to run a competitive business these days without investing in some technology. The problem is that not every business owner or entrepreneur is as tech savvy as they should be. This often leads to major mistakes with detrimental consequences. Here are a few of the costliest blunders:
1. Spending Too Much on Hardware
It’s easy for small businesses to be sold a bill of goods when it comes to hardware. Unscrupulous salespeople can smell when a business owner doesn’t understand technological verbage and will try to sell them more than they really need.
Hardware can be extremely expensive these days. Many small businesses make the mistake of investing a ton of financial resources into brand new systems when they could get just as much functionality out of cheaper, used systems. For example, vendors like BrightStar Systems sell used Juniper, Cisco, and Arista hardware for a fraction of the price.
2. Implementing Fragmented Software
In today’s market, there’s software for everything. You can literally find a program for any business need – from internal tasks to customer-facing challenges.
Utilizing software is great, but there has to be an implementation strategy. Having too many fragmented software programs that don’t communicate with one another is risky and ultimately weakens the business. Software should be fully integrated for best results.
3. Not Having a Strategy in Place for Mobile Devices
There isn’t much getting around the BYOD trend any longer. What was once optional is now a way of life in just about every organization – small or large. The problem small businesses encounter is not having a strategy or plan in place for handling personal mobile devices that access and transmit company data.
Among other things, businesses need to have a device wipe policy in play. This policy – which should be clearly explained to employees – allows the business to completely wipe a device of all sensitive information and data, should it be stolen or comprised.
4. Ignoring the Need for End-User Training
Few things are more important on the technology side of things than training end users on how to use software, hardware, and other resources. While the business owner and key stakeholders may recognize the value of technology, it’s ultimately the end users who will be using it. A failure to prepare them could compromise the entire investment.
Businesses should start with strong upfront training to provide good foundational knowledge and then continue to offer ongoing training that so that users stay up to date.
5. Using Basic Home Equipment
“There’s a reason tech companies put out home and professional versions of their software and hardware: cheaper, scaled-down home versions just aren’t equipped to handle business-level activity,” tech blogger Melissa Rudy explains. “Your wireless router with a 100-foot range is great for your personal network, but try to stretch it over too many employees, and it will result in poor performance and expensive downtime.”
When scaling from basement startup to full-fledged business, a lot of companies “cheap out” and try to stick with the same equipment. While it’s more costly, an investment in enterprise-grade software and hardware is a must.
Avoid Dumb Tech Mistakes
Technology has the power to hurt or help businesses. From a management perspective, it’s important that businesses respect the power of technology and work hard to maximize the benefits and diminish the risks associated with miscalculations and mistakes. They may seem innocent enough in certain situations, but mistakes like the ones outlined in this article can cost a business money and reputation. The more educated business leaders become, the less risk they’ll take on and the better they’ll be able to serve their customers.