Originally published 3/3/2017 at 06:00a.m., updated 3/2/2017 at 03:51p.m.
We live in an amazing time when access to technology can determine the outcomes of our lives. At no other point in time have individuals, corporations, and small businesses had access to the
same technological advantages, products and capabilities. Thanks to cheap communications and inexpensive hardware, competition has been fierce.
This column is here to help you, the aspirational and existing business owner, to compete in a far-reaching global economy. I’ll share the right mix of techniques and technology to help
you find better customers, produce less expensively, protect yourself and your data, and make more money.
Technology is an enabler, not a panacea. You’ll gain access to my experiences helping big and small businesses use technology to make themselves more productive and more profitable.
Processes must be well thought out, and technology can’t be substituted for business sense.
My inaugural tip is a simple one. Try before you buy. Technology purchases can be a commitment. Products used for production can be costly to implement, and may require changes to your processes and operations. Even the largest and most stringent companies such as IBM and Microsoft give you the chance to try out their products. In some cases, the trial period can be as long as six months.
Before the trial, plan how you’ll use the product and your conditions for actually purchasing it. Ask for everything you need, and get all the accounts and access you need. This ensures a successful trial period, and helps you figure out the bells and whistles you don’t need.
Be careful. While you’re trying out the product, don’t ingratiate yourself too deep into the product or service. Try out multiple vendors and manufacturers of the same class of product before you buy them and have a plan that help you choose the right product for your business once the trial ends. By being smart about your product trial, you can find products that are the right fit for your business.
William Mapp is the CEO of Studio Codeworks, Inc. and author of the Small Business Owner’s Guide to Technology. You can send questions directly to him at email@example.com, and follow him at Twitter.com/WilliamMapp3.