Thanks to today’s technology, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can now go toe-to-toe with their larger competitors for a share of the market. It’s crucial, then, for SMBs to keep up with technology so they can remain competitive and profitable.
Ignoring technology trends can prove detrimental to your business. You may miss out on new breakthroughs that can further improve your business processes or increase savings on your operational costs. This will allow your competitors to catch up or leapfrog ahead of you.
But rapid changes in technology can overwhelm or confuse ordinary business owners and entrepreneurs who may not be tech-savvy in the first place. Want to keep up with the trends in technology without wasting your time? Here’s how.
Know your needs
To know what technology solutions you’ll need, you should first be clear on your business objectives. This way, you don't waste your time and money pursuing hardware and software that’s not relevant to you. You can also skip tech trends in platforms irrelevant to your business.
Know where to find the right information
There are millions of websites, blogs, YouTube channels, and forums dedicated to technology. The information is out there; you just need to know where to look.
- Choose the more reputable sites – Even a cursory Google search can yield useful results, especially if you stick to websites that are quite well-known and established, such as the sites in this list, or this, or this one. You can also explore relevant niche blogs and websites for more in-depth knowledge.
- Subscribe to newsletters – So you won’t miss out on the latest news updates from your favorite websites.
- Join tech forums – Tech forums are a great venue for you to raise questions, express your opinions, and seek comments and reactions from others. You can also learn more from reading others’ comments on the topic. Just be careful to distinguish between fact and opinion, between verified news and mere gossip and speculation. It’s also good to join both a global and a local forum; you get a wider scope of news with the former and more targeted information with the latter.
- Follow tech people on their social media – A lot of influential and inspiring tech leaders and movers are on Twitter. There you can get insights direct from the minds of tech titans like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Tim Cook to tech influencers like Bloomberg host Emily Chang, tech vlogger Marques Brownlee, and the CEO of the nonprofit Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani. Not sure who to follow? Check out this list.
- Attend industry events/network – Another way to get intel straight from the horse’s mouth is to attend industry events. For SMBs, it is better to attend both business and tech events, the latter being a convenient venue for tech leaders to showcase their latest products and services. Make sure to network and discuss issues with both colleagues as well as industry experts. The two sides can offer varying perspectives. By attending events regularly, you’ll gain a better perspective of the tech world, and make use of your knowledge of upcoming tech trends to anticipate and plan ahead.
- Check your local electronics stores – An inexpensive way to keep your ears to the ground is to check your local electronics/gadget stores. You get to see for yourself the latest technology offerings of mobile phones, computers, television, and so on. You can chat with the salespeople about the newest technologies, and even ask them about news on upcoming new gadgets, like Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Assess, rank, and then use your available resources
Once you’ve gathered enough information, you should have an idea of what technology will work best for you. Now it’s time to assess your current technology, prioritize them according to your needs, and see whether you need upgrades or replacements.
After knowing what you have and figuring out how to maximize them, it’s crucial to implement the changes. You will never know if the changes you planned are beneficial until you actually execute them.
Take your time
Just because you need to keep up with the latest in technology doesn’t mean you have to try them all. Take your time, weigh your options carefully, and be judicious in your choices.
Note that when you introduce a new technology, you’ll need to factor in the time and cost of phasing out the old for the new, as well as training your staff anew. And after some time, you’ll need to assess the benefits of the new technology.
Consult with our tech experts
At Online Computers, our tech experts are in the know regarding the latest trends. We offer various IT solutions, from managed services to tech support and consulting, to SMBs in and around Hanover, Morristown, and Madison. If you want to stay ahead of the tech trends, give us a call today. We’ll give you the IT support you need to succeed.
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