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Technology Tips for Small Business
This book was written by a 25+ year telecommunications professional to assist the small business owner and manger to understand the technology they use everyday.
How Important is Technology to your Business?
Technology is important to business. It seems that wherever you look there is some type of technology involved. Calls for service are received and made with telephones. Computers are used to create and manage projects, correspond with others and allow quick and easy bookkeeping. Cell phones allow us to conduct our business when we arenít in the office. Office Automation devices such as Fax machines, copiers and electronic time clocks assist us to achieve our goals. At night we may be setting a security alarm to protect the property and there should also be a fire alarm system as well.
The one thing to remember about technology itís just a tool to assist in getting our work done. Having technology in the office or on our person is no different than a carpenter with his hammer and tape measure. Itís just a tool to do the job.
It doesnít matter that we may have the newest, greatest piece of software or a new cell phone or the fastest computer in the area. Having the wrong technology to do the job is just as bad as a carpenter trying to drive a nail with a screwdriver. It may be able to be done, but it takes a lot longer and is not done right. Itís even worst if the correct tool is avail¨able, but not knowing how to use it, or not using it correctly.
Here are a couple things to consider when evaluating or purchasing any new technology.
Understand the business need and the product enough to be able to make an informed decision. Having a slick salesper¨son tell you that the product will improve your business shouldnít be enough information to make that decision. Their job is to sell. Sometimes it may pay to have an impartial expert evaluate the needs and benefits.
Once youíve made the decision to purchase, make sure that the user, whether itís you or someone on the staff, has the proper training to use the product to its best benefits.
You donít have to have each member of your staffed trained by the expert trainer. You can always do a Ďtrain the trainerí. That is train the person on your staff who will be using it the most then have that person train the others.
Training never ends. Itís just like a carpenter with his saw he has to keep it sharp to keep it in use. As technology changes, you need to be trained on new or added features.
If you always remember that technology is a tool and that you need to know how to use it for it to be productive, the money that you spend will never appear to be waste.
At the same time technology can only do so much. It canít be used to correct the ills of the office. Managers still need to manage their staff and while it can assist in that task, it will never be able to replace good old human common sense. Managers need to use technology not ask technology to do their job.
At the beginning of 2006 I began a Weblog or as itís more commonly known, a blog, called Technology Tips for Small Business. Those informational tidbits have been put together in a logical order for this book. Many have been edited and revisited since the original posting.
The primary purpose is to educate owners and office managers of small business about technology so they wonít be scared of it. But itís also to know thereís no reason not to go out and ask for expert assistance. To have more information is to be able to effectively use the tool.
This book is broken into five sections. The first has tips relating to what is commonly referred to as telecommunications or telecom. My feeling that terminology is incorrect and in actuality it is telephony. Whatever itís call the section deals with the office telephone.
The second section deals with cell phones. VoIP is the new trend in business communications; the third section deals with it.
The next section is titled security, but it deals with the aspects of what can be done to prevent information from falling into the hands of those not authorized to use it.
The final section is termed ĎOther Stuffí and has tips that deal with other technology related stuff.