Is Your IT Holding Your Business Back?

Despite the ubiquitous presence of technology in our lives, few businesses take full advantage of the possibilities that it offers them in terms of increasing business efficiency. Very small businesses have a tendency to rely more than they should on manual processes, on the grounds that they are too busy to switch to automated systems or do not have the funds to invest in them. I tend to steer people away from this approach, because automating the core processes for most businesses is not as difficult, time-consuming or expensive as it first appears.

Furthermore, the benefits are substantial, because once these systems are in place, you won’t have to worry about them again, which means you and your people can concentrate on more important things.

Larger businesses have different problems. Quite often, they are quick to invest in technology but slow to put the other essential procedures in place. This means that they often ‘throw money at the problem’ rather than assess the business benefits and the value of any business efficiency gains created by the introduction of new technology.

There are four key questions that any business should ask. First, what is your strategy for technology? You should consider what processes could be aided by technology and what business efficiency and financial benefits this would provide.

Second, what equipment, systems and software would you need to provide to your people in order to introduce technology in line with your strategy? This would include assessing how and where your people work.

Third, what infrastructure would you need to make your strategy work? Too many businesses take a piecemeal approach and fail to capitalise on the full range of features that most technologies provide. They are, for example, more likely to carry out a like-for-like replacement of a system rather than use it as an opportunity to re-think the systems.

Finally, what training and support would your people need to use the technology effectively and thereby gain the benefits of the investment? Another common mistake made by a large number of businesses is to invest in the technology but not show people how to use it effectively. This can lead to significant reductions in business efficiency as well as frustration on the part of the people involved.

As you explore the possibilities of business technology, don’t allow yourself to be tied down to one particular solution. Ultimately, the deciding factor for any business technology decision should be whether or not it will improve your business efficiency and customer experience.

Our Mothers Recycling Business Back in Iran

Back in Iran and in our childhood there were special men who visited our home town most days of the week.

In those old good days these visits in our quarters had particular purposes. These men had special business offers for our mothers. Women mostly housewives were the customers of these very unique trades. I guess our mothers have many stories of these men who would also enjoy having business with ladies in our quarters. Our fathers did not appreciate these visits mainly because this business offers would mean a financial loss instead of gain for the regular households. Women were enjoying that little unique trade which was an exchange of goods right at the door. Somehow these trades were helping the society in large, it was about recycling goods. If today there are recycling places you take your unwanted clothes or furniture, back then our mothers had the comfort to have things removed by these men.

Namaki or Satlman was one of those men. We used to have various salesmen coming to our neighbourhoods. How can we forget jacket and pants salesman (kasse-boshgabi), vegetable salesman (sabizi forosh), Pond Cleaner (abhouzi), Snow Shower workers (barfparokoni), and blanket sewers (lahafdoz)? How could we forget our garbage men (Asghali)?

These names are only familiar to most of us Iranian whether we have lived in Iran or not. Indeed depending on the neighbourhood and status of the citizens in that area, these services would be more or less appreciated. You could tell that these mobile workers enjoyed their walks in between neighbourhoods. As a child I always wondered whether these types of trades would really pay enough for a living. Would these men be able to buy their children school clothes or school items? The mystery was and still remains, how could these men support their families with this type of jobs? I guess job security was not a concern back then. Other days we would have other mobile salesmen in our quarters.

These salesmen used to come on certain days, mostly on an unwritten and informal schedule. They came one after another in each week day. Our mothers would always be happy to see these men who were willing to take our old clothes and unfit shoes, not mentioning our father’s shirts and suits. These men would instead give our mothers some plates, plastic baskets, or some household items that did not have any material value anyway. The good thing was that a natural recycling business was happening. No one wasted bread, food, and clothes. Indeed no household items used to go to waste, if our mothers did not engage in this exchange many bread would have gone to waste.

Are You Holding Your Business Back?

Defining a Breakthrough

A breakthrough is, in metaphysical terms, an expansion of energy. To move from one level of success to the next, you must expand your energy. You expand your energy by moving into a place you have never been before.

Steps for Creating a Breakthrough

1. Focus on the cause, not the effect: We have been conditioned to focus on the effect of our perceived problems. If you feel your business is not generating enough sales, it is natural to attack the effect, which could be anything from not making enough sales to high employee turnover. To make a positive change you must go to the cause.

2. Take Action: Ask yourself, “Why are my sales slipping or not where I would like them to be? What has caused this drop in business? How you feel is the key to all changes in your business. You must also examine all issues including a shift in the market, changes in staff, new technology, or expanded competition. The key here is going to the cause of the issue, and figuring out how and why it started in the first place; this will create a much different approach to problem solving in your business.

3. Accept that you are the creator: Successful people accept responsibility for all aspects of their business. You must accept that you, and only you, have the power to make the changes you desire.

4. You cannot play the victim: Becoming a victim lowers energy and weakens your power. Any time you blame outside conditions for your failure, you are acting as a victim.

5. Willingness: You must be willing to do whatever it takes to move forward. The moment you are not willing, all of your obstacles and unconscious fears come to the surface. If you truly want to succeed, you must be willing to take appropriate action and make necessary adjustments.

6. Embrace Change: The only thing you can count on is change. Many people in today’s business market are desperately holding on to the old ways of doing business. The world is changing and you must be open to moving with it. Most people do not like change, but those who embrace it will soar to new heights.