As small and solo business owners, technology is the wonderful tool that allows us to run our businesses with little overhead (from home if we want to), to automate so many time-consuming tasks, and to reach thousands of people in our market. However I often see technology hold people back because of:
- a fear of technology and learning the skills they need
- a fear of putting anything out there over the Internet unless they're convinced it's perfect.
- a failure to put safeguards in place in case a major technology problem occurs
I also want to share how best to protect yourself so when technology fails you, so you can recover as soon as possible.
In the past few weeks it seems we had a technology hurricane whip through my business. First my business computer crashed unexpectedly because an internal part just wore out. That left me without access to many of my business folders, documents and my Outlook database and emails. Since my computer was dead, I had to quickly purchase a new one and run my business temporarily from my laptop. It wasn't easy and although I had to re-create some documents, luckily many of the key documents I needed immediately were located on my laptop as well.
Most importantly, all of my data had been backed up regularly onto an external hard drive, so as soon as my computer expert got access to my new computer, he was able to load all of my data and emails and we re-installed all of my software. This was about as much fun as visiting the dentist and took some time, but I didn't lose anything valuable. Meanwhile I was able to access my daily email on my laptop.
Shortly afterward, we experienced a plethora of problems-corrupted audios, problems with my e-mail marketing program where links in e-mails we sent were somehow corrupted and a problem with my membership site going down. All of this required my team and me to stop what we were doing and work with the appropriate support team to get the problem resolved.
It also meant that some of my coaching club members had difficulty accessing the membership site for two days, and a mass email I sent to my list had links that didn't work, even though we had inserted them correctly. As frustrating as this was, people did not only understand, but they emailed us to let us know there was a problem right away.
Of course we all try to make sure that everything works for our clients, but sometimes technology isn't perfect and things break down. Sometimes it's human error-like the times when we've accidently inserted an incorrect link (which happens to everyone). The important thing to remember is that you need to keep getting your message out there. Go for reasonable accuracy, not perfection. Don't agonize over "dotting every I" and "crossing every t". You don't need to re-write and edit every e-mail message over and over.
The problem with perfection is that it doesn't exist. Perfectionism is often a way for us to put off taking action that will put our message out there in front of our market on a weekly basis.
On another note, if learning technology skills is holding you back, this also requires you to let go of your fear of doing something wrong and go for learning one step at a time. Almost anything you need to know is available to you by typing your question into a simple Google search. You'll find all sorts of tutorials and instructions.
Finally, put safeguards in place to protect you in case you have computer problems.
- Do weekly or bi-weekly backups to an external hard drive.
- Have a backup laptop you can use to retrieve data in an emergency.
- Set your emails to remain on your server for 10 days of so. This way if you can't access it on your computer, you can login to your server or website's control panel and read it there.
- Keep all of your software CD's in one place so you can find them quickly to re-install your programs onto a different computer. Keep all of the product keys for downloaded software in one file where you can find it easily in case of an emergency.