Keep up or catch up
That’s the simplest way to describe the tide of technological advancement that buoys some businesses to the top while dragging others below the surface.
Not to paint a gloomy picture, but businesses who fail to adapt and change with the times often don’t survive. And, the rate of technological progress—especially concerning business, where the Internet is now 100% necessary—becomes faster and faster every year.
How do you keep up? Can you catch back up after falling behind? And what are the consequences of falling (and staying) behind the rest of the pack?
When businesses fall behind with tech, the most common reason why is because they haven’t expanded their software and online presence to keep pace with the rest of the world. Nowadays, a majority of people look for solutions to their problems online first, and many only utilize the Internet when looking for answers.
Businesses that don’t take advantage of management strategies that incorporate digital tools are shooting themselves in the foot. Marketing is an arms race—if you’re not utilizing both digital marketing techniques and back-end systems to make running your business faster, cheaper and more efficient, rest assured your competitors will (and probably already are).
You’ve probably heard before that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but apathy. Irrelevancy is one of the worst things that could happen to your business, and companies that don’t adapt to meet consumer demands and expectations quickly find themselves becoming irrelevant.
If you run a restaurant and your competitors are all overhauling their businesses for online ordering and delivery, what do you have to offer your customers if you fail to react? Look at Blockbuster for one of the biggest cautionary tales of what happens when a business can see the writing on the wall but is unable to make necessary changes.
Without agile, powerful tech backing your business, spotting and acting on golden opportunities is much more difficult. Consider how easy it is for a business to answer customer service questions via Facebook versus operating a costly call center, or how much more fluid a theme park’s ticketing gates can run when powered by responsive back-end software.
Harnessing modern technology means running your business cheaper and reacting to customers faster. That also means discovering issues before they become critical problems, and visualizing trends before they become missed opportunities.
Operating your business without modern technology is like working from a cluttered desk. Even if you have all the information and expertise to make a decision, finding and making sense of that information turns into an ordeal. Bogging down your business because of disorganization is incredibly costly, yet also easily avoided.
Customer management tools, cloud-based servers, front-end self-help portals, modern scheduling and time management tools…these are just a handful of the systems available to declutter your business that so many companies still aren’t taking advantage of. There’s simply no way to compete on a level playing field without proper organization—otherwise, you’re fighting the competition with one hand tied behind your back. Blindfolded.
One of the only things we can never get back is time—and time wasted is money wasted. Take a water park as an example. One park might use different systems and software for every aspect of managing their business—a ticketing program, another system for time punches, an inventory management system…you get the idea. All of those systems cost money, and worst of all is the fact that those piles of software and hardware rarely work well together.
Time and time again, business owners are faced with the task of shoving a round peg into a square hole, trying to make these systems play nice to keep their company humming along. But that’s an ideal world. In reality, problems occur frequently.
In this water park’s case, every day the business operates with outdated back-end software and hardware is another day of wasted potential and wasted money—with a modernized, cloud-based PoS system, the same business could both cut costs and free up tons of valuable time for more crucial issues.
It’s not a problem unique to amusement businesses, either. As your competitors become faster, smarter and more streamlined, every day you keep less efficient systems in place is a day you fall behind. Eventually, it becomes to difficult to catch back up. Those businesses fail.
But catching up isn’t impossible. With the right system, it could even be easy—but only if you adapt. For amusement businesses, the solution might be as simple as condensing your unwieldy flock of management tools into one robust program that does everything those old systems did, and then some.
No, you don’t need to adopt every tech trend that pops out of Silicon Valley. But picking and choosing the right tools to keep your business operating in peak condition is what separates the companies riding the crest of the wave and those being left behind in its wake.