Psss… Small Business Owners… Technology is the Key
I just read an article they got me thinking about the importance of technology in our customers’ lives from the perspective of a small business owner. In this article, Amazon claimed that their Alexa devices tripled product or service orders from the previous year. Now, of course, Amazon did not make all the money. Most of the funds were pocketed by businesses actually selling the products. These businesses may have been large and small organizations. Regardless, the surprising fact is that most small business owners forget or do not know why customers use technological advances such as the Alexa applications on a continuous basis.
In my opinion, I believe that customers use technological advances, such as Alexa, because these products make our lives simpler. In this day and age, we want simplicity and we don’t care how we get it. If technology will help streamline mundane tasks, then our customers are going to exploit it in a heartbeat. Further, if technological advances make their lives more difficult, then those advances will be kicked to the curb. An excellent example of this is how difficult Facebook has become to use because of their continually adding more features. These additional features make life difficult for users to navigate a previously simplistic system. To make this worse, that we need to respond to in order to get rid of that damn number with the circle around it showing that we have a message. In other words, Facebook has made using their application significantly more complex. From this, in my most humble opinion again, users are going to get tired of this application and move on to other social media platforms that are more user-friendly.
With this said, small business owners should reflect on how their operations and use of technology are improving the quality of life for their customers. To use my business as an example, as a professional business plan writer and business consultant, there are several actions that I could take to help streamline the business plan writing process. One process that I will probably implement will be to reduce the amount of time needed for initial interviews in the business plan writing process. Over the last several years, I have asked customers to set aside 1 to 2 hours for the initial consultation. However, I believe that the initial consultation process for the business plan writing could be done in less than an hour. By reducing the amount of time needed for the initial process, customers will be less inconvenience and have more time to spend growing or streamlining their operations.
In wrapping this up, in starting a new year, I challenge business owners everywhere to take a hard look at their current operations and ask yourself: “how can I streamline or modify my business to improve customer convenience?” From the simple question, a new perspective may be gained on how your business operates as well as some pretty good ideas may come to light for streamlining or improving your business from the perspective of customer convenience.
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Author: Paul Borosky, Doctoral Candidate, MBA.