Overwhelmed with technology options, many Kiwi SMEs are choosing to put their heads in the sand in the hope it will all go away instead of cherry-picking a simple suite of fundamental technology solutions that meet the unique needs of their business.
Assia Salikhova, the Managing Director of Wellington business development agency Smarketing Lab, said that in her experience, more than 40% of Kiwi businesses do not have a website, and many are still operating off one email.
The runaway speed of technological change is now a real threat to the viability of many businesses.
“Many businesses we speak to are simply overwhelmed and don’t have the time or mental energy to research and learn technology solutions, with many relying on referrals to make sales. Their fear is unsurprising because, while many of us use technology, effective utilisation is elusive.
“Customer relationship management (CRM) and automated website responses, never mind artificial intelligence (AI) are not used properly or to their full potential-I would suggest this ‘technology phobia is one reason we lag the OECD in productivity,” Salikhova said.
She said ignoring such basics isn’t just a missed opportunity-it risks portraying businesses as out of touch or, worse, non-operational and will no doubt damage the ability to sell the business when retirement comes, which is just around the corner for many.
She offers the following insights:
Technology should not be overwhelming if you make strategic selections rather than exhaustive inclusion.
“What matters is the tech’s alignment with your business objectives. Establish whether the technology truly adds value to your operations or customer experience.”
To avoid being overwhelmed, many companies overlook basic tech tools.
“A website without a contact number, an email system that inadvertently flags important emails as spam, or a phone line that frequently appears disconnected not only frustrates customers but might also send them straight into the arms of competitors,” Salikhova said.
She said the basics, like allowing customers to leave messages, are not just courtesies but essential indicators of professionalism and reliability.
The technology landscape evolves daily. What’s trending today might be obsolete tomorrow.
“To navigate this, companies must foster a culture of continuous learning. If there’s a technology crucial to your business operations that isn’t well-understood, invest in training. This might mean bringing in consultants, enrolling staff in courses, or dedicating time to self-paced learning.
“Hesitation or ignorance, especially with platforms like Zoom, can be detrimental when the world swiftly moves onto the next big thing,” Salikhova said.
While many Kiwi SMEs find it tech tools challenging, the solution isn’t to run away or blindly embrace all comes.
“It’s about judicious choices, a strong grasp on the basics, and an unwavering commitment to learning,” Salikhova said.