We live in the most technologically sophisticated age the world has ever seen, and we can now achieve things with our tools that our ancestors – even our grandparents, in their youth – would have found just about completely inconceivable.
This is reflected in the changing face of the business world, too. Increasingly, greater numbers of people are setting off down an entrepreneurial path in life, and are taking back control of their time, surroundings, and various other features of their lives, thanks to the opportunities provided by the Internet.
What’s more, many cutting edge tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Amazon echo, for example, now has an Internet Marketing News Skill, which means you can get useful business information added to a weekly digest, that is then read to you.
Of course, it also has to be taken into account that not all technologies and tools are going to have a net positive effect on your business. In many cases, you can expect to find that certain tools and technologies will actually cause you a lot of trouble, make distraction and procrastination much more likely, and simply fail to be the positive force you hoped for.
While there are no hard and fast rules that you have to follow with regards to technology, here are a few principles that might be useful to consider if you want to take your business to the next level.
Go for tools that allow you to do things faster, without compromising quality
Out of all the different components and factors that make up a successful business, time management is one of the most important, by a long shot.
Through investments, hard work, and savvy marketing, a business can massively increase its revenue over time. But there’s nothing a business can do to actually add more total hours to the day.
The best any professional can, in fact do, is to ensure that as few hours as possible are wasted, that time is spent in the most efficient manner it can be, and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that this is the case.
Tools that allow you to do things faster, without significantly compromising the quality of your work, are a godsend, and you should seek them out and adopt them whenever and wherever possible, just so long as there aren’t broader concerns to take into account (such as security.)
Of course, you need to exercise a bit of discernment here and be careful that the tools you are using don’t just save you a bit of time in one aspect of your work, only to significantly reduce your efficiency in another area, and so cause a net neutral or negative overall effect.
Be wary of relying on too many hyper-complex tools and systems
Many of the most sophisticated and useful tools out there will, inevitably, be very complex. That’s just the nature of modern technology in general.
It’s worth mentioning, however, that you should be quite wary of relying too much on too many hyper-complex tools and systems, for a number of reasons.
For one thing, complexity correlates with fragility. The more complex a technology or service is, the more ways in which it can “go wrong.” Complex systems are what the author Nassim Nicholas Taleb would refer to as “fragile,” generally speaking, as opposed to “resilient” or “anti-fragile.”
For another thing, complex tools and systems are often harder to use, and may cause inefficiency in previously unexpected ways.
In order to keep your business resilient, try and use the most complex tools and systems as a way of complementing simpler ones, rather than as a cornerstone of your operation in its entirety.
Always do a “costs-benefits analysis” when considering the role of a certain tool technology in your business
In his book, “Digital Minimalism,” Cal Newport mentions some details about the interesting life of Henry David Thoreau.
Among other things, Thoreau was deeply interested in a developing new system of “economics” which had little to do with actual money, and a lot to do with the optimisation of “the good life” and time.
In order to identify the most essential components required for a good life, Thoreau retreated to the woods, and lived in a cabin for an extended period of time. During this time, he kept a meticulous inventory of all the things he used and needed, and their costs.
As a way of illustrating the topsy-turvy relationship that many people have with their commodities and tools, Thoreau uses the example of a farmer, who might buy a new wagon in order to increase productivity – only to then have to work much harder, for much longer, in order to pay off the wagon and keep it in good condition.
When deciding which technologies and tools to use in your business, always perform a “costs-benefits analysis,” which takes as many nuances into account as possible.
For example – does a particular technology hypothetically increase the number of things you can get done in a day, only to simultaneously and systematically increase the odds that you will be drawn into idle procrastination during the day?
Don’t expect a particular tool to work magic for you of its own accord – you need to have your own ducks in a row as much as possible, too
People sometimes make the mistake of hoping and assuming that utilising a particular technology or tool in their business will have an almost magical effect, and will essentially make the business into a high-performing juggernaut all on its own.
Of course, if that was the case, virtually all businesses would be runaway successes.
Any tool or technology you’re going to use in your business should be viewed as a magnifier, something that enhances and accentuates what you’re already doing.
The upshot of this is that you shouldn’t expect the tool or technology to fix fundamental issues in your company. Instead, you’ve got to address those on your own.
Said differently, you need to have your own ducks in a row as much as possible, for any tool or technology to yield real benefit.