I went into business at the time when email way making its way into the thrust to improve efficiency. This was not an “upgrade” situation, it was a big change. Email has made cables, faxes, telephone calls and such prior scientific advancements in communication dwindle in importance, especially at the minimal cost and fast speed of emailing. Importantly you can communicate with dozens of persons simultaneously. This ease of communication was greatly appreciated by our team because we had very little cash.

So, technology works.

But the small business person must bring reality to his or her venture by testing the assumed benefits of some technology. Don’t assume, for example, that simply owning a smart phone trying to do everything from it is guaranteed to save you in the long run.

You might find yourself keeping up with the apps, constantly paying attention to every update, or being dragged into the WOW of conversations about these magnificent devices, and not bothering to validate output as a way to ensure it is not simply dragging you into the hype and, garbage in, garbage out, if you do not excel in performance beyond the acquisition of tech toys.

Have you, for example, considered what might happen if the phone got lost or stolen? Because one funny thing about smart phones is that they cannot find their way home!

As an engineer by training, I cannot deny the benefits of technology. Nor am I saying that it is something to avoid. The efficiency of the entrepreneur is greatly improved by modern technology. I am saying that one should be aware. Decide if you are running a business where service, efficiency, continuity, and credibility are important. These apply to almost all ventures. From that angle, you will recognize what systems and approach are required to make the distinction between a serious business and a hobby.

There are some basic necessities for success in a modern business. The business will need to send and receive emails and faxes. It might need to have to compose communication, store and retrieve data and organize and access a database of some sort. Then it has to balance the need for personnel versus technology and equipment. Here one considers costs versus benefits, the stage of the business and the availability of funds for investing in people and technology, etc.

Some of what is necessary might exclude the handheld toys. Maybe a server situated inconspicuously out of the way is the answer. Perhaps emphasis on staff training is key. But don’t be driven simply by the need to fall in line with the euphoria of another model toy, another device, just to appear cute and “with it”. Be realistic about what it can and will do for you and your small business.

Consider decisions that can form the framework for growth, bearing in mind that obsolescence is so fast nowadays. Also, back-up systems are important. Technical failures accompany devices and then again there is the risk of theft, fires and other natural disasters. These are all considerations for a reality check as the business decides what will make life easier and the people more productive.

Author's Bio: 

Alrick Robinson is the author of The Small Business Survival Guide: Insights into the First Two Years. I invite you to download a free chapter and introduction to by book at http://eepurl.com/bVHO1. You may also visit my blog at http://smallbusinessmentorja.com/blog where I share small business resources and survival tips weekly.