Technological advances, including mobile phone applications, have created a low-overhead, high-productivity tool kit that can greatly benefit small and medium-sized businesses. The digital technology accelerating and enhancing the way business is done is of particular significance to franchise owners, restaurants, and companies that sell retail products and consumer packaged goods. But unless owners and managers take advantage of these technologies, they'll be left behind by competitors who are more comfortable upgrading to the new ways of doing business in the 21st century.
Fear of technology is nothing new. If you've ever bought or sold a home, you're aware of the dependence of realtors and their clients on the Multiple Listing Service or "MLS," that industry's go-to database of real estate listings. You've probably even accessed the MLS yourself while shopping for a home, because nearly every real estate broker has a website with a search engine that is connected to the MLS. Most brokers also use apps like those they can carry in their pockets on smartphones to stay updated on any changes in listings, sales, or other significant MLS information.
But you may be surprised to learn real estate professionals initially greeted the MLS with reluctance and skepticism. As we all know, history tends to repeat itself. In 2009 the Romanian Association of Real Estate Agencies, Romania's version of the National Association of Realtors, first launched an MLS system. Can you guess what they answered when asked what the biggest challenge to bringing it online was? The person in charge of implementing the upgrade cited the mindset of those who would use it and their lack of support for the initiative. They preferred doing things by hand, slowly, the way real estate professionals did in the early 1900s.
Many real estate agents wanted to keep doing things that way because when the concept of a centralized MLS database was presented to them, it sounded way too complicated and scary. It sounds crazy in the digital information age, but that is the nature of technological innovation. When it's still unfamiliar it tends to upset the status quo, and most managers and business owners would rather do things the old way rather than face the challenge of moving out of their comfort zone. That's true even if the adoption of new tech means less work, smarter solutions, superior customer service, and easier profits.
Today there are many astonishingly powerful software applications and smartphone apps such as accounting or task management apps that are available at highly affordable price points to save time and labor for companies across numerous sectors. Restaurant owners, retail entrepreneurs, mom and pop stores, online merchants, and others are leveraging this new digital technology to reduce their workload, track metrics and benchmarks, improve the way they schedule employees, and ensure that inventory is intelligently and proactively managed.
The question that every owner who has not embraced these tools should ask themselves is an important one, namely, "Is my fear of new technology my own greatest obstacle to success?" If you are someone hesitating to use new technologies out of fear, that's OK. It's a fear shared by many. But if you're reading this article, it's probably because deep down you know it's time to look into a more modern solution for the way you do business. So go check out the many for innovative workflow management apps that are out there.
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