What’s Holding Your Business Back?
It's The Little Things That Hold Us Back
I once read an article that said business cards are dead. When I saw those words, admittedly I thought the author had lost every one of his marbles. At the same time, I was a faithful follower of his words, so I read on. The emergence of smartphones, he explained, gave us a much easier ability to trade info. The author was sales genius and bestselling author Jeffrey Gitomer.
His advice included using sites like LinkedIn because it allows us to connect professionally at any moment, no matter where we are. Again, seeing this information was a shock… how on earth could a widely-accepted business norm not only be challenged but so flagrantly disregarded? I mean, it’s a business card… at some point in every man’s life, he has told himself “A business card would impress a girl”. How could I possibly get rid of a business card?
After much careful thought, I realized that Jeffrey was on to something, and it was time to consider making some changes. But it wasn’t the card that was on my mind… again, I still needed those cards to impress the ladies. I couldn’t stop thinking about the “new” way and began considering all the technological advances that I had seen in my lifetime.
The most glaring example I could think of was the telephone. Once upon a time, making a telephone call required a lot of people and a lot of moving parts. My great-grandma had a rotary phone in her house… have you ever tried to win a radio call-in-to-win contest on a rotary phone? I have, it’s not fun…
As the process was refined, the technology was more capable. Efficiency would eventually become the key. Enter the touch-tone phone. It seemed nobody would ever again live without a home phone. Immediately connect with anyone, provided they were home. The answering machine gave us the ability to screen calls… we say it was to leave a message, but seriously, we all know it was because of Aunt Sally and her crazy conversations.
Fast forward through 3-way calling, conference calls, the car phone, VoIP, cell phone, and smartphone. Do you even have a home phone anymore? In most cases, the only reason people do is that it was cheaper to get a “bundle” from the cable company. Most people I know have the line, but never actually hook a phone up to it.
Why have so many people abandoned the home phone? For the same reason Jeffrey talked about business cards being old news. The technology has advanced to where using the same old stuff puts you at a huge disadvantage (like me trying to win those Beach Boys tickets with the rotary phone).
Can you think of anyone that doesn’t have a smartphone? Go one step further… do you have a family member that doesn’t “text”? How likely are you to call? Crazy Aunt Sally is stuck in the old days, and it’s your problem if you need to reach her. Your customers, clients, and colleagues feel the same way about you.
Have you kept up with the times or are you the one people make exceptions for? Think about your willingness to work with someone who makes things more challenging for you. It’s possible you will tolerate it for a little while, but eventually, the communications are few and far between. This is 100% true even in cases where you have a 30-year working relationship. If you make it hard for me to do business with you, I will find someone who makes things easier. Game. Set. Match.
Much like the phone, nearly every other form of technology has changed. Things that were once inefficient and costly have now become inexpensive and impossible to live without. Computers in the palm of your hand, cloud storage, and immediate communication between team members and business partners are just some of the great things we have available today.
When a contractor can mark up a set of drawings, scan it to the cloud, and share it immediately with every sub on the job site, in real-time… how can anyone else possibly compete with that? Ask yourself who you would rather work with; the contractor who can do what I just described, or the guy who makes you go back to the print shop to pay for and pick up the corrected pages?
We sarcastically make jokes like “build a better mousetrap”, “reinvent the wheel” and “the best thing since sliced bread”, but if you aren’t doing those things, the joke is on you! We lie to ourselves and say we can’t afford it, or we don’t need it, and that is all the justification we need.
What is the real cost? Did you know there are still companies who pay employees to waste their time? I see offices where they print on one side of the paper, put it back in the paper tray, and print on the other side of the paper because the “duplexing” printer costs $100 more.
Never mind the number of pages wasted trying to figure out which way they go back in the tray to print the backside correctly. And don’t worry about the time it takes to enter the page numbers you want to be printed, just to go back and do it all over again. Bargain technology takes 3 times longer to work with… but you saved a hundred bucks.
Here’s my point; What is your time worth to you? Day after day, people make buying decisions on printing systems based on “it prints, scans, copies, and faxes, so get the cheapest one and let’s get back to work”. The same goes for the business card; “we need cards, order them online… don’t get the gloss finish, it costs more”.
Everything has a cost – either time or money. If you haven’t heard my podcast called Money – is it a reason or an excuse, give it a listen by clicking here. If you buy the bargain, it’s inefficient and ineffective. It doesn’t put you in control. A business card can get lost, folded, used as a toothpick, or a wedge to fix a wobbly table, long before it ever gets to the prospect's contact list. In fact, it will likely sit on a dresser or a desk for a few months before someone finally throws it away to make room for more pocket fodder.
That is a great metaphor for a company that doesn’t embrace technology….. it sits on a dresser for months, before it’s thrown away.
A smartphone, cloud storage, and the proper printing system can make nearly any office an unstoppable force. If you haven’t considered upgrading yet, you are falling behind. Plenty of affordable (and even free) technologies are available to help your company operate to YOUR capacity.
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