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If your business uses technology, but you are not trained in it, do you fear or embrace technology?
One of the joys of being an entrepreneur in the digital age is the breadth of opportunities technology offers, to reach customers and markets beyond anything we may have imagined even a decade ago. ‘Beyond Boundaries’ is the term that comes to mind when one thinks of today’s entrepreneurs.
At the same time, I wonder if sometimes the opportunities that technology seems to offer us, also throw up their own (interesting) challenges. For instance, if the potential market appears larger and larger, is it harder to focus and make one piece of it your own?
Be that as it may, one of the major trends I’m sure many of you may have noticed in the last few years is many women of all ages, but especially young women, setting up businesses enabled by technology. Not all of these scale up to be multi-million dollar enterprises (or even aim to), but from IT Services entrepreneurs and technology app builders to home bakers and dress-makers, women are enthusiastically adopting the use of technology to build, market and grow their businesses.
In my own case, as a non-tech person running a tech-enabled business, one of my learnings while running Women’s Web has been how creative the use of technology can be. As someone with training in literature as well as marketing, I had previously never thought of technology as a creative field. Yet, in the process of building this product, i.e this website and community that we offer users, I have realised that ideas flow in both directions.
Sometimes, we think of an experience that we would like users to have and then look to see how technology can enable it, but also, sometimes what technology makes possible inspires fresh ideas about making things better for users.
I am sure this is true for most of you who run businesses that use technology as an enabler. The challenge then, is to keep up one’s learning about tech, without necessarily becoming a technologist yourself!
I learnt this the hard way after the first year of running the site. In my first year, I kept tech at an arm’s length since I knew nothing about it, and assumed that the tech team I had hired would handle everything competently. This turned out to be a big mistake, and we ended up pretty much doing a complete overhaul at the end of the first year, thanks to a team that let us down. While I am still no expert, I realised that I need to at least understand how things work, whether or not I ever write a line of code myself.
Some of the ways non-tech entrepreneurs like us can keep learning about technologies that could impact our businesses include:
As someone who used to believe that technology was for engineers, my work as a digital entrepreneur has changed my understanding to one of more interest in and respect for what technology offers, even for very small businesses.
If you are an SMB owner, what are some of the key ways in which you use technology? Do you fear, or embrace technology? What do you do to keep yourself updated? Please do share in the comments.
This post is being supported by Dell, which is a key partner at the ongoing INKTalks event in Mumbai. The INKTalk Conference that is hosted annually explores how to affect change in the way the young and young at heart view their world, goals and ambitions, particularly in emerging economies. You can get a taste of the INKTalks events here.
Be sure to catch the Dell Session on How to Create a Brand on Social Media that will take place on the 1st of November between 3 and 4 pm. Do attend the event or catch the live Webcast. Tweet your favorite moments of the conference with #DellAtInkLive.
businesswoman using technology image via shutterstock
Founder, Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas and conversations
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