All the time, you hear how technology is supposed to make your business work better. There’s technology for marketing, for sales, for delivering your products and services, for managing your business. The list goes on and on.
Even so, many of the coaches and teachers I know have a distant and strained relationship with technology. It actually makes some sense. In general, they are
people oriented and it’s where their skills and attention are focused.
And technology can be pretty unforgiving. It demands you approach it in a certain way, it’s way. And if you don’t, then it doesn’t work right or you may not be able to get it to work at all. It can feel alien and frustrating. And if you don’t do it right, you can actually make things harder for yourself.
And this raises an important question: Is it worth the trouble?
In response, I’d like to tell you part of our own technology story.
Here’s the story.
When Carl and I were setting up Opus Marketplace, we wanted to make things as easy as possible
on ourselves. So when we were looking at options for how to handle our money and our accounting, that’s what we had on our minds.
We knew, from previous experience, that you could set things up where you had to record everything multiple times. For example, when paying a vendor, you have to receive the invoice in the mail, record the invoice, write the check, record the check, mail the check. When you’re receiving payment from clients, you have to create the invoice, mail the invoice, receive their payment, record their payment, make a deposit to the bank, and record the deposit.
Ick. That’s constantly messing around
in the books. And we didn’t like that idea at all.
So we asked ourselves how we can we make it simpler? Then it dawned on us. Maybe paper checks are the problem. Can we get rid of them? How? What would happen if we did?
Well we tried it. We made ourselves a simple rule: only pay by card or our bank’s bill-pay; only get paid by card. Then we set up QuickBooks to get a feed of transactions from our bank.
And here’s what happened. Most of our vendors bill our card. We set up automatic bill pay for others, for example our rent goes to our landlord that way. We still have to send out invoices, but we use QuickBook’s online invoices and our clients pay online by card. And everything gets automatically recorded. It’s pretty easy now. About once a week, we review the incoming transactions to make sure the amounts are what we expect and that they’re getting filed correctly.
So what’s the moral of this story?
Well, there are several.
- Yes, it can be worth it to befriend technology.
- There was some effort in learning how to do things the new way. This involves learning how to use particular apps or other technology … adapting the way we work so that we can get the benefits.
- There was a lot more effort in figuring out what the right way was. This involves figuring out which apps would be useful to you in your business, how to use them, how to set them up for that, and the most important and complex part … how to get the apps to talk to each other. If this isn’t done well, then all you’ve done is make things harder for yourself. And doing it well involves specialized knowledge and skill.
The third point is the most important.
It’s easy to focus on #2 and say, “just get with the program”. In fact, that’s most of what you hear out there. And it assumes that, if you don’t or can’t get with the program, there’s something wrong with you. You’re technically challenged.
But this way of thinking ignores a very important point. There’s more to it than just taking time and effort to learn how to use an app to do something you’ve been doing comfortably on paper for many years. If it was only this, you probably would have made the change already.
In the end, sometimes befriending technology means having a tech-savvy friend to help you with #3.