Choosing New Technology for SMBs

According to BizTech magazine Laurie McCabe is currently Number 1 out of 30 must follow small business influencers – so she knows what she’s talking about. Lucy Thorpe caught up with Laurie as part of The Growth Business podcast series to ask her for her advice for SMBs on choosing new technology. Here are her top tips and quotes for you to take away.

How do I know I need to upgrade my business technology?

Laurie says;

Do you have a lot of friction every day in how you get things done and are you spending all your time trying to take care of the day to day?

Is the daily grind preventing you from doing the things that you need to do to move your business forward?

Then you need help!

Tech can free you up to focus on the big picture and focus on growth and competitiveness as opposed to just being stuck in a rut where you know people are spending way too much time trying to get stuff done.

Technology is a big enabler to help your business move ahead & there’s never been a better time for SMBs to explore the options.

Technology can really fuel your strategy & become the on-ramp for growth… it’s like another tool in the toolbox and used correctly can bring huge benefits.

Top 3 tips for tech adoption in SMBs

Laurie says;

Things just happen automatically because the software is making it happen automatically. Wouldn’t that be a blessing?

So, you’ve got systems in place but in order to move forward, you have to figure out how you can integrate what you have with where you need to go.

Automate, Organize and Integrate – these are the 3 BIG STEPS to business efficiency for SMBs

Ask yourself what can I automate, organize and integrate? 

There’s a lot of SMBs that haven’t taken that step yet.

Top 3 issues with choosing new technology for SMBs?

Laurie says;

Integration with what you already have is often named as the top problem.

The next biggest challenge is which solution is going to work best in my company. There’s tons of solutions out there and figuring out which one of these things is really gonna fit my business is very hard.

The last thing is just the age old, what I call “lack of” problems, lack of IT skills, lack of time and lack of money. Yeah, I mean those barriers are very real for people. How can we help them in these companies? Not only are our SMBs challenged by a lack of IT resources, there’s not always the depth of knowledge both on the IT and the business side.

What about digital transformation – is it the same as getting more efficient with new technology?

Laurie says;

For any SMB today not only do you have to make things more efficient, but you have to accommodate new ways of doing business. It may be the case that you can’t keep up with your day to day business tasks but you also need to add in a new element like a subscription component. This is where digital transformation comes in.

So, the good news is SMBs now get what digital transformation is – they understand why it’s important but there’s still a lot of issues in getting started. But it’s very important that you start because the companies that have already done so are outperforming those that are waiting on sidelines.

AI and Machine Learning for SMBs?

Laurie says;

Even though these technologies are actually very complex, they’re going to become part and parcel of a lot of business solutions.

Already most software vendors are building AI and machine learning capabilities into their solutions. They’re basically giving their customers the power of these technologies without the customer really having to understand much about them…they are added as part of the application, they’re integrated, they’re embedded. So for example, almost any vendor that has any kind of accounting solution is using AI and machine learning to help automatically categorize transactions and expenses.

So, as a customer you can take advantage of this with a lot less heavy lift.

Why partners need to look after customer more than ever

Laurie says;

With everything as a service, with everything in the cloud, if they don’t get the service that they require, they can just walk away.

Trust is really a biggie. The evidence of trust is easy to find…if the vendor does things from the get-go, like making your information really clear and accessible. Pricing and timeline. Taking the time to really understand the customer’s needs and instead of just going right into the sale, making sure that the customer is comfortable. So maybe helping them, connecting them with other customers, getting them in the loop so that they can have a conversation. So yes I think trust is very, very important.

Thanks again to Laurie McCabe for these really helpful tips on choosing new technology for SMBs – if you would like to hear the interview in full then do click here for the full podcast interview The Growth Business. 

Laurie is founder of the SMB group.