If you could ever label something as being a “double-edged sword” that can work for you or against you, technology would be the perfect example.
Technology is interwoven into literally every element of our lives today. As a business owner, this creates both an incredible opportunity, and a scary scenario where the landscape has the capacity to change right under your feet.
Technology offers enormous value to any business owner. If you haven’t already adapted, CRM (customer relationship management) software has redefined the way we interact with our clients and manage our new customer acquisition process.
Accounting and bookkeeping software has made keeping good books straightforward, and almost fun. Inventory management is now something that can be managed by a single person with a good system, and marketing has been completely redefined by the Internet, social media and other technology platforms. In some ways, it’s leveled the playing field which is very exciting.
One hundred years ago, very few business people had the means to compete with larger entities at any level. Everything was just too expensive. Now, you can start a business online, you can register your company with the state or Federal Government without leaving your bedroom, you can market to get new customers from your computer screen; the possibilities are literally endless.
By staying on top of technology, spending the time to research and getting to know what tools are available for you, technology can be leveraged to grow your business and build fantastic opportunities.
Kodak is an interesting story. If you are over the age of 20, you probably associate Kodak with the biggest brands in the world, Coca-Cola, Ford, Nike, etc. would all be in this category.
How could it be that a mega-giant of a company like Kodak could have completely failed the way they did and filed bankruptcy in 2012?
Simply put, they failed to invest and listen to technology, and the market changed right underneath them. Moore’s Law was first developed in 1975 when the founder of Fairchild Semiconductor, Gordon Moore made the profound statement that technology would double in computing power every two years.
The power and speed of the evolution of technology make this issue even more profound.
Kodak knew about digital cameras, they had many of the patents for the technology and the cameras and were in some ways ahead of the curve. What Kodak didn’t realize was that the digital camera’s capacity was evolving so quickly that the technology would allow for extremely high-quality pictures from a small device in a much shorter time period than they had anticipated. This really rapid change in photography took a 100-year-old company to complete failure in a matter of about 5 years (1997 – 2012).
So what does this mean for us, regular, small to mid-sized business owners who use technology but certainly wouldn’t be lumped into a category with Kodak? Pay attention to technology.
Some of us, myself included, are just not very technologically adept. I can turn on a computer and use the system after someone teaches me, but I’m not skilled in writing code or understanding the intricacies of a database. So if you’re like me, have people on your team who can be at the forefront of this and support you in making better decisions when it comes to technology.
The good news is that with the web and constant access to new information, there really is no shortage of ways to stay on top of the technological evolution. There is one thing that is for certain, technology plays a pivotal role in all of our lives.
Take a step back and look at your own house for a moment, I bet you’ll be surprised at how many devices you actually have in your home. The average American owns 3.6 devices, so a traditional home could feasibly have 10-20 total without much effort.
We are more connected and technology driven than ever before, and that trend doesn’t look to be slowing down at all.
You and your business need to be aware and understand how this impacts your business model so you can avoid being the next Kodak.
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