4 Reasons Tech Knowledge is Important for Business OwnersOctober 18, 2017 11:34 am ·
Did you know Experts Exchange’s sister location is based in Chattanooga, Tenn., a growing location for technology innovation? This week marked the beginning of Startup Week Chattanooga, an annual event created for educating entrepreneurs and startups on all things needed to build a successful business. Yesterday, we attended a session on “Need to Know Tech Skills for Non-Tech Entrepreneurs” to see what others in the industry are outlining as the tech basics business leaders and owners need to know for success.
On the second floor of the Edney, the hub of Chattanooga’s Innovation District, business owners gathered to learn why technology know-how is important in order to reduce cost, remain informed, and push their teams toward success.
The session was hosted by TechTown, a local nonprofit learning center that brings technology into the lives of children, and instruction provided by Savvy Coders, a St. Louis firm that teaches coding basics to the masses.
Camilo Payan, a career developer and instructor at Savvy Coders, led the discussion and informed the room that there are four basic principles for the need to understand technology.
1. Every Company is a Tech Company
No matter your business size, the product or service you offer, or what your long-term business goals are, this statement is true for all companies today.
“While technology may not be the core of your business, a lot of places need technology to smooth things over. The biggest area [for this need] is marketing,” Payan explained.
Most companies have a website that delivers outward-facing messages to the masses. Those messages need to be honed and iterated by marketing teams in order to effectively display and deliver branding where it matters most. When you add marketing campaigns to the mix, from blog posts and social media shares to a triggered email send, the need for tech qualifications and understanding only grows. In this vein, technology helps companies develop automated marketing systems and processes to better share and publish marketing messages that will attract potential consumers.
2. Presentation of Self to Others
It’s important for companies to present themselves well on their websites, from responsiveness and design to clear content, and an effective mission statement defining the value the company offers.
“[The website] must be clear, it must be important to your business,” Payan said.
In fact, companies whose websites are not responsive or well designed will lose 38% of consumer engagement. Once on the homepage, 86% of visitors want to see information about that company’s products and services, so when companies don’t pay attention to delivering an effective outline of what they do and why it would matter to the customer, they are losing out on a significant number of prospects.
3. Internal Processes
Technology is an integral part of streamlining effective business processes behind the scenes. Payan explained that the most-needed internal process for entrepreneurs and small businesses without IT teams is inventory management.
“[A company I worked for] did not want to conduct inventory every night, so we created an internal system that checked inventory against POs,” he said. “We discovered the reports did not reflect reality and understanding the reports as they were — along with their flaws — helped us create better systemic processes.”
Payan explained how effective technology processes also impact company culture and management, by allowing companies to outsource to remote workers and establish a flexible culture — something many workers today look for when exploring new employment opportunities.
4. Your Product
These days, products cannot be sold on the grand level needed for success without technology help managing orders, preparing shipment, and the like. All those processes require programming and are critical components of business operations.
Picture a need for a bookkeeper. Most business owners wouldn’t delegate that work to untrained assistants; they would hire an accountant or an individual who is trained and skilled in that line of work. Same goes for technology needs, Payan explained.
While expertise in specific topics is something business owners should seek in new employees, an individual understanding of the basic technologies needed and used within the company will help business owners reduce costs in the long run, as they learn to recognize the value in paying for help versus doing projects in-house.
How This Applies to Your Business
For small-to-medium sized businesses — especially startups — an in-house IT department is oftentimes off the table, due to salary requirements and available capital to pay those salaries. Contractors, while a viable option, can also come with pricey retainers that are difficult for new companies to justify, especially when the need for service usually does not occur on a regular basis. That’s why instructional opportunities like this are important, as well as programs built to help business owners as they get their companies off the ground.
Expose your team to technology basics so you can operate in the beginning when an IT position has yet to be filled. Your team can work on the website, begin setting up marketing automation systems, and establish an inventory process when they are aware of the basics for these installments.
Once your company is up and running and you need IT and technology check ins, turn to tools built to help you remain secure and aware of any possible problems or vulnerabilities. A Virtual IT assistant, for example, provides a Health Check Report to monitor external firewall entry points, provide availability scans, and uncover any malicious uses of your site. This will help you stay on top of digital security and monitoring, without breaking the bank.
For more information on this tool, visit this page.