Business Strategy First: It’s Not About the Technology

Business Strategy then Technology“You just haaaavve to be on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, other social media, and have a blog!”

“You absolutely need the new must-have app for business!”

Sound familiar?  Have you heard some well-meaning expert or colleague tell you this, likely within the last week?

Yep, me too! And if I hear about one more must-have, “this will solve all your problems”, gotta-have, magic bullet piece of technology I will scream, and that’s not good because it’ll scare my cats.

It’s not that I don’t like technology – in fact I like it quite a bit and have almost 20 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience in technology fields.  It’s just that technology isn’t a magic pill that is going to save anyone.  In fact, too much or the wrong technology will actually hamper your efforts.

A quick Google search of the phrase: “business software” or “business applications” yields 614,000 results. The search phrase “business hardware” yields another 323,000 results.  As of the fall of 2013, the iTunes store had over 1,000,000 apps.

So, why don’t you pause reading this article, download them all, and then let me know how they help you?

OK, I am just being a smart-a*@, but the numbers don’t lie. There is a lot of technology to choose from for business and even more if you factor in all the personal applications.  Depending on who you listen to, you could easily end up with hundreds of apps in your workflow (or at least installed on your devices) that you either never use or use in a half-hearted manner.  It will slow YOU down much like too much will slow down the machine it’s installed on.

That’s why I say again – It’s not about the technology!  I can remember my first day on the job when I worked directly for a CIO of a major corporation. He said to me that in his opinion technology is meant to enable business. Nothing more, nothing less.  I share his philosophy wholeheartedly!

Yet, especially for so many self-employed business owners, I see technology strangling them, disabling them, and watering down their efforts.  I have clients and colleagues who practically gasp for breath talking about the stress technology creates for them.

This is why I want you to flip your thinking.

Strategy comes first.  Then come the tools to support that strategy.

Processes and procedures come first. Then come the tools to make those processes more effective and efficient.

As a general rule, less really is more. More peace of mind, more productivity, and more ease.

Every piece of technology (hardware or software application) should have a definitive purpose for being in your business.  “So-and-so at the latest conference said I should” is not a definitive purpose.

So here’s what I want you to do. [Read more…]

Laser-Like Focus is the Key to All Growth & Progress

Laser Like Focus for Business SuccessWhether you want to move forward in your business with steady, incremental growth or a big quantum leap, a laser-like focus on what is right in front of you is what is required.

How can the solution to two radically different goals be the same?  Let me explain by way of two distinct stories.

Yesterday I saw a man and woman in our local development walking on the sidewalk. I see this duo almost daily. What makes it unique is the way in which they walk.  He stays patiently by her side as she takes extremely slow, calculated, and exaggerated steps.  Clearly she is recovering from an injury and based on what I can observe, likely at least a portion of it relates to a brain injury.  The focus, patience, and determination she exhibits is what propels her forward and farther each time.

As someone who has rehabilitated more than a few injuries (including a dual Achilles tendon tear), I can honestly say there is nothing like pain and limitation to get you focused on the little things.  I can remember shuffling along at an agonizing pace (after all BOTH feet were injured) while dreaming of the day I went hiking and biking again. It took weeks, months, and frankly a good year before I could do as I please. Progress gets measured by seconds, inches, and steps not leaps and bounds. Yet the underlying law for growth is clear, focused action tied to a greater goal.

What if you want more than incremental forward progress?  The law is the same – clear, focused action.  Let’s look at the moving forward by leaps and bounds crossing chasms as you go story. [Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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