Remember that there’s a learning curve for everyone – no one just intuitively knows how to use any new tech.
For many small businesses and nonprofits, the events of 2020 were a true wake-up call about the need to push beyond the fear of exploring new technologies. When doing business through established means was no longer possible, organizations were now confronted with embracing one of two choices: either being willing to learn new technologies and methods for carrying out what was required to still do business, or stubbornly eschewing anything that they weren’t already fluent in and comfortable with. Those who were willing to be adaptable and to look beyond the initial uncertainty and inconvenience reaped the benefits of discovering new tools to help them do business.
But for those whose reluctance and apprehension stopped them dead in their tracks, there was an even deeper sense of isolation that crept in. Already knocked for a loop by not being able to carry out business as usual, these organizations now also began to feel that they were somehow disconnected from not only their clients or customers, but from the rest of the business community as well. Initial frustration at the prospect of having to learn new, complex ways of doing things had now opened the door to even more confusion, inactivity, and shying away from pursuing true problem solving for the challenges they faced.
In the time since the outset of the pandemic in 2020, many of the innovations popularized at that time have become incredibly commonplace in the business world. Virtual meetings, cloud-based collaboration, and a movement away from physical paperwork helped to tremendously streamline the approach businesses take in their operations. Organizations are no longer utilizing these technologies out of necessity, but because of the proven practice they embody. Even if someone might have been trepidatious when first utilizing a particular piece of tech, three years on, they now are likely enmeshing that technology into the fabric of how they do business simply because they’ve experienced all the benefits that come as a result of it.
So why, with so many clear indications as to how much can be gained through overcoming the fear of new technology, are so many businesses still stuck in the mud? Do you find yourself in that position? If you do, don’t despair – a positive mindset is actually the first important component in embracing new technology. Whatever your past experiences might be, there are five key truths that can help you to reevaluate your perspective and enable you to foster a healthy mindset toward learning new tech:
Number 1: Everyone has to learn technology. It seems so obvious, but don’t overlook the reality that you are no different from anyone else – we all have learn how to use tech. If you’re older, it can be tempting to believe that you’re at an automatic disadvantage and that any younger person knows more than you do. There can be some truth to the statement that younger people (who are immersed in the use of technology) already have a knowledge base to build upon when learning something new, but this doesn’t negate your ability.
It may be more difficult to overcome the learning curve if you have no background in using technology, but the great danger is to allow this to simply stop you in your tracks. Always remember that there’s a learning curve for everyone – no one just intuitively knows how to use any new tech. Frustration can descend quickly on you if you allow it, so instead resolve to use your intellect, reasoning, and life experience to guide you as you pursue learning what you need to. Difficult does not equal impossible, and the incredible power of perseverance can play an enormous role in overcoming whatever obstacles you perceive.
Number 2: There is no shame in not understanding how a certain technology works. You don’t know what you don’t know – period. We live in a complex, ever-evolving technological landscape, and you should never allow some stigma to be attached to you based on your unfamiliarity with tech. Always remember that someone simply embracing technology because they like bells and whistles doesn’t equate with being an expert on anything. Don’t dive headfirst into every single piece of technology simply because it’s there – be prudent about what you pursue.
Always take the necessary time to investigate what’s a good fit for your organization. If you have initial contact with a certain piece of tech, don’t pressure yourself into making a snap decision to start utilizing it. The best approach in this situation is to do some basic field research – talk to colleagues and other associates to get some feedback as to what their thoughts are about the technology, and benefit from the experiences others have already had as you draw your own conclusions about what’s best for you.
Number 3: Avoiding technology out of fear or stubbornness will likely cause further issues to develop. Although it’s true that you should only embrace technology that makes sense for your organization, the flip side of this is that you can’t simply turn a blind eye and not expect to somehow get left behind. Regardless of whether you own a small business or a nonprofit, you’re operating in a highly competitive realm. Arbitrarily deciding to simply ignore new technology certainly won’t do you any favors.
Just as occurred for tech-shy businesses at the height of the pandemic, the competition may suddenly start looking far more attractive to your customers or clients by offering better service options. There’s no denying that organizations can bring added value to the people they serve through the proper use of technology. In your own context, think of ways that you can strengthen and further develop what you already offer through exploring options with new software, apps, or even social media platforms.
Number 4: Technology should never become the main focus of your organization. When you do find a good technological fit for furthering your mission, do everything you can to strike a healthy balance as you start implementing it. Acknowledge up front that neither you nor anyone else in your organization will master it overnight, and be sure to establish pragmatic goals for restructuring your processes to properly integrate the technology. The worst thing you can do is to lose perspective and start investing all of your time and energy learning a new software rather than doing what you do.
Always remember that you were actively pursuing your mission before you embraced whatever new technology you’re experimenting with. Tech should never be anything more than a tool, and it can never become the focal point of your organization.
Number 5: There are vast, free resources available to help you learn what you need to know. Perhaps the best news when it comes to learning new technology is to recognize that there is a staggering array of information to help you get a handle on whatever it is you need to learn. YouTube alone is a treasure trove of instructional content that can help you to gain a better understanding of how a certain piece of tech best fits in your business. From a wide variety of perspectives, it’s possible to engage in tutorials to help you master whatever you’re trying to learn, and even reviewing comments and questions posted by other viewers can give you fresh insights.
No matter how overwhelming new technology may appear to be, remember that a modest investment of time into learning it can help to make the use of it second-nature. What seems intimidating today can be “old hat” next year, and whatever is being touted as the latest and greatest will certainly be superseded by something else six months from now. There’s always something new to learn, and that’s actually a wonderful prospect.
ValorExcel has experience using low-cost, highly-effective technological resources. Email us at email@example.com or call us at 240-329-9387 to see how we can help you work smarter, not harder. Do you want to get a deeper perspective on the overall health of your small business or nonprofit. If so, take your organization's temperate at www.valorexcel.com/takeyourtemp. In the meantime, make sure you check our recent videos on YouTube by clicking HERE. Each episode is designed to inspire, empower, and transform you and/or your organization.