IS YOUR RELIANCE ON "IT" REDUCING YOUR BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AND PROFITS?
The theory that "IT" aids the business process resonates throughout a great deal of business literature and media articles these days. It is true the use of IT in business does indeed, offer considerable benefits in the modern world.
Communicating with our suppliers and customers has never been easier, mundane tasks managed far more efficiently and data mining provides considerable benefits to our marketing and sales efforts through the use of IT.
However the negative aspects on the use of IT without critical thinking on how we use IT are coming increasingly to our attention. As a consequence of these negative aspects, we may not always achieve our business objectives. In fact we often find relying solely on IT solutions to our business problems, actually hinders our business growth the destruction of business value.
The reasons why IT can hinder the development of your business is twofold.
1 Business is a social experience completed on a human to human basis, irrespective of the use of IT interactive products on occasions.
2 IT products are just one of the tools of doing business and like any other tool, when used incorrectly or badly, causes problems.
Herein lies the problem for business managers.
1 Do we interact with people by using IT communication mediums? or
2 Do we interact with people using a variety of tools and mediums, whilst understanding that whichever tool we use, must be acceptable and useable for all types of people?
Here are a number of thoughts for your consideration on the use of IT in business
Thought - Business is based on interactions between people where IT tools are one of the means of this interaction. For instance, face to face networking is another interactive tool of business. Introductions by your employees who are not in the sales and marketing teams, friends and suppliers are also interactive tools of business.
Why do so many business professionals ignore these people to people interactions, or place less value on them as a valuable source of business benefits?
Thought - Too often I have seen business owners afraid to pick up a telephone and "talk with their customers" about doing more profitable business together. Some business owners and managers send endless emails to their customers and suppliers, and yet the other party is literally, just down the road.
Why is there no encouragement to arrange a face to face meeting with the other party?
Thought - Social networking via IT networks of Facebook and LinkedIn etc. sounds good upfront as it is inexpensive to get started. However even this expense is soon wasted by people who do not understand how to sell via these mediums.
Furthermore, there seems to be little consideration given about the cost of attracting the attention of spammers and other undesirable parties trying to gain access to your business through these networks.
Thought - Face to face networking functions are opportunities for people to interact and get to know people personally, as well as on a business level. However because networking is also a social skill, people attending networking events often do not understand how to speak or interact with the other attendees. This is surprising when there is so much written about how the best sales start with a personal introduction.
In addition, as you get to know the other person, you can soon start to evaluate whether you really want them involved in your business or not. Such knowledge may save a lot of grief or create a better profit later on.
Thought - If business is a social interaction, and you are looking for a point of difference as advocated by the marketing professionals, why not have a dedicated telephone and front-desk receptionist? It is all very well to have your telephone and email contact details on the website. However if nobody answers the telephone or replies to emails, you cannot do any business.
It appears, as I highlighted in a recent blog, having somebody available to speak to an interested person making contact, does not seem to be important in today's business world?
Thought - IT developed to suit budgetary requirements and the egos of management or a group of employees, is inefficient and reduces the value of the installing expense. Too often I have seen fancy billing systems installed and which cannot be utilsed efficiently by the supplier.
Also take an open-item accounts receivable system. Often the statement which comes out at the end of the process is a list of outstanding items which have not yet been processed. It appears there is no reporting capability with such packages which tells a business story on how the customer trading relationship is progressing.
What a waste of a data mining opportunity which could help the supplier develop a more profitable customer trading relationship. *
At the end of the day, IT has the capability to assist your business grow and achieve your objectives through operational efficiencies, time saving and ease of operations. However, business is also a social experience between people. Your IT interconnectivity therefore must be useable to people and produce the information required to assist you complete more profitable business interactions.
IT is a tool of business I is not just the saviour of your business problems. Without critical thinking, IT tools can create just as many problems as they solve. The ART OF BUSINESS is the balance of making your business interactions a valued social experience as well as an efficient experience. Do that and you are on the way to a profitable business.
May you be paid today rather than tomorrow
* Needless to say, and this a plug for Credit Matters - we can supply a product which produces a report from your open-item accounting system to help create a profitable trading relationship with your customers.