What To Do When Technology Hijacks Your Business

Yesterday I sat unrelentingly by my computer, eagerly waiting for a deal-breaker email from a client. It never came—or so I thought!

Later in the evening, I decided to go through my usual ritual of checking my Gmail account for interesting LinkedIn alerts, and there it was—the client had sent me that much-anticipated email a couple of hours before. It was sent to my company email address and cc’d to my Gmail address. I had not been aware that the server was not working well, so I didn’t receive email from the company address. Had the client not cc’d my Gmail, I would have given up on that job altogether. Thank you, Google!

That leads me to today’s topic. While there’s no denying that technology makes the world a great and convenient place to live in, it also has its drawbacks.

We have become so dependent on technology that we don’t even bother to walk across to the next cubicle to chat with a colleague; we just send an email.

For entrepreneurs, the drawback can be even worse. It can cause fatigue and anxiety.

In my case, not a day passes by without being bombarded with social media alerts on new technology that will revolutionize how we do business. On any given day, I’m bound to interact with an acquaintance talking about developing an App to solve one problem or another. Every day, I get a WhatsApp or Facebook update on how so and so is doing very well with one incredible product launch after another. The celebrations are usually short-lived because by the very next day someone presents a better version of the previous idea.

It seems to me that in our attempt to come up with the next big idea, every new development has such a brief shelf life that even the most recent tech graduates find themselves caught up in a high-speed merry-go-round of continuous learning.

By the end of the week, I often feel worthless and less successful than everyone else. Greg Hall, a Bentley University professor who teaches Cyberpsychology, has this to say, “If we’re in this mode of constant change, social anxiety increases without giving us a chance to adapt—and affects our sense of self.”

The same can happen to our businesses. While chasing after every technological breakthrough, or the latest AI technology, you may forget the most fundamental reason for starting your business. Your business North Star (read my blog on this topic) may begin to look more like a South-Star (Sigma Octantis)—too deem and barely visible and unusable for navigational purposes.

So, how can an Entrepreneur keep technology in its place?

1) Understand the role of technology in entrepreneurship

While technology has made it easier for entrepreneurs to use do-it-yourself web design techniques, purchase a domain name, or find educational resources; it is also a double-edged sword. It frees you from the office desk while tethering you to a smartphone and social media platforms. Balance is needed. See Link:

2) Use Social Media Efficiently

Engagement with customers and prospects through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram can help build a small business’ brand and create affinity, but it takes time and skill to be effective. It is important to note the impact that a single positive or negative comment can have. Plan and strategize before you hit the post button.

Ask yourself:

● What are the channels where my customers are present?

● What are the ways to target the audience on those channels?

● What are the objectives and ROI of the social media strategy?

3) Use technology to solve customers’ problems.

Best practices:

● Please pay attention to all customer service issues and be kind to them in all scenarios. Passive complaints that are left unaddressed can easily cause a rift between the vendor and the customer.

● Manage your social conversations promptly to deliver superior customer service.

● Enhance your customer experience by being available across all the touchpoints that customers prefer to contact you so as to deliver instant support.

● Remember to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.

Note to my future self.

Maintain balance with technology. Disconnect occasionally to avoid the psychological reliance on your devices. Remember, you may not have a huge budget, but nothing stops you from being connected to your customers when and where it matters most—when they need you.