The Downside of Technology for Small Businesses

Clearly, we love technology. It’s what we do. But more importantly, technology is what makes it possible for so many owners to run their businesses.  With the invention of email, small business owners were able to communicate faster and more efficiently.  The invention of video conferencing is responsible for hundreds of thousands of businesses staying in business during the pandemic.  Without wifi, so many people would have been out of work during the pandemic.  So, yes, technology has made the world a better place.

But, there is a dark side as well. Technology has made us more available which means that if we aren’t careful, we may never find the downtime that is needed for thinking and relaxing. It has made the world a more dangerous place, as witnessed by human trafficking and cyberattacks. And, for many of us, it acts as a constant interruption in our days. For business owners, unless you have solutions to head off the issue, all of these can affect your bottom line.

Technology can be stressful

The stress of trying to remember passwords is only the beginning.  For business owners, the benefits of technology can blind them to the detriments.

For example, consider Zoom calls.  When the pandemic hit, many of us were thrilled to find that business could continue by pivoting to a remote office. Most of us loved the idea that suddenly we could have meetings without any commute involved.  We loved that our employees could still put in the hours they always had to take care of your customers.  But now, two years later, it is finally dawning on us that there are some major issues with this technology.  Your schedule may be too full, your employees feel out of touch or you are simply tired of sitting in front of a screen. All of these can add stress to your already stressful life. 

The good news is that for every problem, there is a solution.  Some of these solutions may be more technology such as a calendar service such as Calendly and some may take the technology out of the equation. Instead of sitting in front of Zoom calls, start scheduling in-person meetings or take a page out of one of our friend’s books and schedule a walking meeting. It’s a unique way to get away from the desk and enjoy nature at the same time.

Technology stole our downtime

Although we originally loved the idea of Zoom calls, you may find yourself now missing that commute. 

We find that there is no quiet time in our lives now.  It is all go-go-go. Recently, we had coffee in real life with a colleague and he shared with us, “I barely have time to go to the bathroom or get a cup of coffee between calls now.”

Where we once scheduled 2 or 3 meetings a day, it’s not unusual to have meetings back to back from the beginning to the end of the day. Many people find it difficult to say no to meetings.  After all, everyone knows that we have an extra hour in the day without a commute.

Even without virtual meetings, we are still reachable almost all of our waking hours.  With smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches, there is seldom a moment when you aren’t poised for that next call.

The good news is that you can take some steps to combat this issue. Set boundaries.  Again, you can use technology to do this, like blocking out chunks of your schedule on your calendar or scheduling and prioritizing downtime daily. 

Technology can be expensive

Years ago, a typewriter, a telephone, and a desk would suffice for a business.  These days almost every business needs to invest in some form of technology for their business, no matter how small.  Whether you are purchasing computers and printers or smartphones and tablets, the expense can get out of control quickly.

And that doesn’t even count the expense of taking care of all of that technology.

Unfortunately, many small business owners think they are saving money by keeping the care of their technology in-house. They find the most tech-savvy person in the office and start pawning off all tech-related issues to them. What they don’t realize is that an employee who is not trained in the technology is probably costing them more than hiring a service. 

Many people come to BL Technical when this realization finally hits.  Usually, after the employee has missed a client deadline because they were fiddling with technology or worse, still when the employee missed a major issue that is now costing them thousands of dollars in repairs and lost work.

The solution to this is simple. Hire an outsourced IT company that has the knowledge you need.  We can take care of your technical needs so that you and your employees can take care of your client.

Technology is also responsible for the rise in cybercrime

Cybercrime is a very real concern, even for small businesses. Small businesses are especially vulnerable to attack because they often don’t have the resources to invest in strong cyber security or they don’t realize how even small changes can protect them. This can lead to devastating consequences, such as loss of data, identity theft, and even bankruptcy.

Cybercrime is at an all-time high since the start of the pandemic.  With much of our lives floating about on the interwebs, it is easy to see how vulnerable we all are.  Especially, when we are depending on our staff to protect our data as well. Learn more about cyber threats to small businesses here or call us to find out how our team can help guide you.

Technology can be a distraction 

Another downside of technology is that it can be a distraction for you and your staff.  How often do you find yourself distracted by an important task because of the constant ding of notifications? 

Social media is another culprit.  Although many businesses rely on social media for marketing their business, it is almost impossible to avoid getting sucked into the black hole of Instagram Reels.

One of our employees told us a story about her recent experience while getting an oil change.  She was told the car would be ready in an hour so she sat and waited.  But as she sat there, she could see into the bay where her car should have been in process.  Instead, she could see the mechanic sitting in the backseat of the car flipping through TikTok and laughing.

This is not an unusual story.  We hear it from business owners on a regular basis.

One of the easiest solutions to this is to create a no phones policy.  You can set a place in the office where you leave your phones until you have a break. If you can’t do this, consider turning off notifications and making your workspace a “no social media” zone.

There is no more privacy

Because everybody has a cellphone these days.  Many business owners worry about their data and their reputation.  Although they trust their employees, there is always a worry that something they say or do or some proprietary information will find its way into the wrong hands.

Again, implementing a no cellphones policy may solve this problem.  If this isn’t possible, consider creating clearly stated privacy policies for your employees.

All in all, we know that technology is an invaluable part of a small business.  We also know that many of the concerns we have can be addressed by implementing policies for yourself and your employees.  With a few good policies and some equally effective employment agreements, a small business can let go of some of its worries.

If you are a business owner that has a love-hate relationship with technology, our team is here to help. Call today at 410-504-1949 to see how BL Technical can help relieve your tech stress.

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