Don’t sweat the small stuff! Focus on value instead
I was recently talking with a business colleague and the discussion turned to the value of technology. He was talking me through a recent technology purchase, mainly looking at the buying process.
The main focus of the conversation? Price. He was telling me that he had haggled over the price point with the company he was buying from, and, quite proudly, mentioned he had forced them down to a specific price. When I asked what value the technology was injecting into the business, however, he couldn’t tell me.
This story highlights something that we often see: Business owners sweating the really small stuff. Ultimately, does shaving 1% off the price here and there matter if you don’t get the value you want from the solution? Or is there a better, bigger saving to be made?
Think value, not price
In business, it’s really easy to focus on price, but is this the right way to approach a technology purchase? I’m certainly not saying you should ignore it entirely, I just believe that if you start by looking at what value you can gain, you will ultimately receive a better outcome at the end.
Adding value to your business can happen in many ways. For me, it’s about giving myself time back to focus on growing my business. I’m always interested in technology that can improve the way a process or task is done so that both our team and I can focus on revenue-generating activity.
That value, whether it’s giving me a day back to focus on our clients or making it easier for our sales team to work on the move, translates to a much greater long-term saving than I would have made by shaving a percentage point or two off the upfront cost.
Removing process issues
I’ve seen multiple examples of this within our own work with clients. There have been many instances where we may be discussing a print solution with a client, only to uncover during the process that there are bigger challenges that technology can alleviate for the client.
Many times, these challenges are business process oriented. They can take many forms, but often they are around entering data from either paper or digital documents into a backend system, such as an accounting software. In fact, invoice processing is the most common challenge we see. I’ve seen clients that have lost a day or more in productivity just processing invoices; with technology, we can give over 90% of that time back. The same goes for processes like time sheets, staff or client on-boarding, and internal sign off documentation. Technology can automate so much of this, giving you and your team back the time to focus on your business.
Small thinking leads to small results
It’s easy to forget that adding value to your business will ultimately lead to a better result than focusing on what I call ‘the one’s and two’s’. I’ve seen it in our own business in terms of automating our internal workflows. We focused time and resources on building processes that use technology, which means that much of the human element in moving information around our business has been removed. If someone is on leave or is sick, a process doesn’t stop or breakdown, it continues on.
So next time you’re looking at a technology project, think more about the long-term benefits to your business. If the provider you’re working with isn’t demonstrating that value, question why that is. I guarantee that in the end, if you stop sweating the small stuff and look at how you can add value to your business you will achieve a better result.