Fast growing SMBs use technology strategically12 Sep

A survey by CDW recently found three key lessons about the use of technology in high growth rate SMBs.

1) High growth rate firms integrate technology in the company’s strategic plan
2) Owners/leaders of high growth rate firms understand technology
3) High growth rate firms leverage their technology to the fullest

To me, the first concept is a no-brainer. Any company starting out today that doesn’t view technology as a strategic differentiator (or at the very least as a requirement to remain competitive) is going to struggle with growth. Give your employees the bare minimum resources they need to keep up with their jobs, and they’ll get the bare minimum done. Simple as that.

It’s also easily understandable that technophile business owners will use technology more and therefore grow faster than their technophobe competitors. I do see examples of technologically challenged SMB owners still doing well. But the owner who “gets it” is always on the lookout for new ways to apply technology to drive their growth. It’s just part of their DNA.

But, in my experience, the last point is key. I see so many businesses that purchase technology and then fail to take full advantage of its capabilities. Software modules go unused because they don’t handle a process exactly as the company wants to do it. Old manual efforts continue to exist even though the same process is now managed in the software. Spreadsheets continue to get manually compiled instead of automated with data from the new system.

If you’re going spend the money on the technology, you might as well maximize your return. Don’t just rely on your vendors to help you. Their primary purpose is to sell. If they sell Point of Sale systems, they’re not going to look for ways to streamline your back-office operations.

Use the staffing model I described over the past couple days. Find yourself a Project Manager who can help you over the long term. Identify inefficiencies. Drive them out of your organization. Repeat.

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