Sorry! The App Fitting Room is CLOSED. Too much technology can hurt your business!

Slow your roll: Why too much technology can hurt your business

Feel like it’s impossible to keep up with what’s new and available regarding business technology?

Maybe deep down you know that if you find that one special app — the one that works seamlessly with how your business operates, the one that has that extra feature that no else offers, the one that just makes you feel good when you launch it every morning – that finding that app will make a HUGE difference in your businesses’ success.

If that sounds familiar to you, then I’m here to tell you that is…

A photo of an arrow, pointing to cow poop.
Bull crap.

For some folks, too much technology is actually holding their business back. And if that’s you, I want to help you get your priorities straight so your business can blossom.

You’ve been BANNED from the ‘App Fitting Room’

Think about when you go shopping in-person at your favorite boutique for new a cute new shirt. After you find a couple prospects that look promising, you find the fitting room and you put those suckers on. If it fits and still looks good, then and only then do you even consider purchasing.

And thank goodness for fitting rooms! Lord only knows how many times I think I’ve found “the one” to discover it makes me look a tad…let’s just say “fluffy” once it’s on.

So I’m not saying that fitting rooms are the problem. Trying things on before you buy is super useful. You learn a lot by giving things a trial first.

But here’s what I’m seeing lately with some entrepreneurs and small business owners: They’re on the constant hunt for new tools – whether it is for invoicing, project management, CRMs, WordPress plugins or social media automation. And when I say constant, I mean constant!

And they’re not tech coaches. It’s not part of their job description to know everything about what’s new in social media to WordPress to accounting apps.

Look, if you have a specific problem that’s costing your business major time or major money and you have the resources to deal with it, then by all means…DO IT. Spend the time/money to find a better solution, and get it into production ASAP. Technology should be working for you.

But what I’m talking about are the entrepreneurs who try new products on a regular basis “just because” the new product looks better than what they currently have. I hate to be so blunt, but they’re “technology sluts.” There is no clear business need to upgrade. What they currently have works, and it works just fine. But the lure of a new app draws them in… If this sounds familiar, please read on.

Why you’re doing this and why you need to stop

Truth #1: We do this because it feels good, not because it’s necessary.

Believe it or not for some of us researching and finding the latest incredible app feels good.

  • It makes you feel more relevant.
  • It makes you  feel like you really care about your business, because you’ll sacrifice spend countless hours searching and then trying out the best apps.
  • It makes you feel smart, because being ahead of the curve means you got it going on.

Staying on top of all the changes, nuances, and latest cool tech thing feels good. But unless it’s your job to do this, it probably isn’t the most effective use of your time as a business owner.

It’s not making you money to have the niftiest CRM on the block. And using the best scheduling tool won’t pay the bills.

And you might not want to hear this one, but usually, it’s an excuse to not look at what areas in your business really need your TLC and attention.

Truth #2: You’re business is here to make money, not be perfect.

I believe some of us fall into this trap because we want perfection. We see celebrities, talking heads, and super trendy really hip businesses daily. We’re under a society- and self-imposed pressure to have the perfect life and a perfect business. Y’know, the business where we make six figures, work a four-hour work week, and have time for yoga every morning.

The search for that perfect apps that’s a little better than what you got – that makes you feel like you’re closer to that perfect business. But the reality is…you’re spending a lot of your precious time for a very small return.

Truth #3 – Most companies really only do one thing well.

If you’re looking for that perfect tool that does it all, you’ll be searching forever. Having developed software (well, back in the day) and also having evaluated hundreds of tools and products, the truth of the matter is: Most software products do ONE thing well.

That’s it: O-N-E. One.

In fact, they do that ONE thing so well they become famous for it. QuickBooks does accounting well. Google (originally) did searching well, and now rocks email as well. FreshBooks simplified invoicing for free-lancers.

After awhile most companies will add new features and benefits in an attempt to compete with their competitors or to try and get more marketshare. On their sales page, they want to show you a big list where they do everything that Company B and Company C does, and MORE! You’ll start to hope and think that their software will be the “all-in-one” app that solves all your problems and maybe cures world hunger, too!

Listen to me. Very few companies do more than one or two things well.

It’s the exception to find a company that dominates in multiple areas. (And if they do, you’ll pay a pretty premium for it.) Once you accept the fact that your perfect app probably doesn’t exist, you’ll evaluate products differently.

You’ll really get clear on what your goals are with any products you evaluate: What are your primary (e.g. the deal-breakers) goals, and what are secondary (“nice-but-not-must-have”) goals? If no app can meet all your primary goals (hey, it happens!), can you integrate two products that do meet your goals? Perhaps by using something like Zapier…

But I love technology! What’s a gal/fella to do?

Dude, it’s important to pay attention to technology! Too little technology is just as bad as too much technology for your business. So…

  1. Read a technology blog regularly <waves!>.
  2. See what business friends and influencers are sharing on LinkedIn and Facebook.
  3. If you hear a trusted person or a few mentions about some new product or new process – it’s probably worth a peek.

But don’t feel like you have to drop everything and take action the moment you hear about something new. Make a note about it.  Sit on it a few days. Ask yourself if it’s a business NEED or a business WANT/PIPE-DREAM. Too much technology hurts your business!

Ask yourself: Will this app help you make more money or save massive time (so you can spend more time making money)? If you spend 20-40 hours evaluating and setting it up, will it benefit you, like immediately? And are you the best person to be setting it up, or should you perhaps hire it out?

And for the love of all that is holy, don’t spend your time downloading and signing up for every new awesome app you stumble across.

How about 2x’s a year choosing an area in your business that you think could be improved. Before you start tinkering, figure out what your success criteria are, and then research what options are out there.

Better yet, value your time and hire a technical strategist each year for a targeted strategy session. In a couple of hours, a good consultant can identify if there are obvious opportunities that you’re missing out on, and then guide you straight to the best products and apps. Instead of spending hours or days researching, you can get a clear plan of action, like *that*. <snaps fingers>

Then you can use the time you saved to eat bon-bons on the beach while making that mythical four-hour work week a reality.

Lots of people don’t spend enough time staying current with technology – and yes, they’re missing out on some huge opportunities. But if you’re the complete opposite and using too much technology to the detriment of your business, it’s time to just say “no.”

Shut down the “App Fitting Room” and spend that time in your own business. It’ll pay off, I promise.

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Published by

Lisa Burger

Lisa Burger is a friendly technology coach, expert translator of geek, and the founder of StartUp!. Lisa's industry experience included information systems, enterprise networking, and information security. She also has a bachelor's degree in computer science.

Today Lisa uses her knowledge and approachable friendly style to assist individuals and businesses with discovering technology solutions that simplify and improve their lives or business. In addition to all the nifty tech stuff, she also has a soft spot for sushi rolls, yoga, barrel racing/rodeo (she used to complete), and drinking iced chai lattes.

If this post was useful, join Lisa on Twitter (@slostartup) or send her an email at lburger@slostartup.com.

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