SMBs are generally more agile and responsive to changes in supply and demand. And startups can recognize a new market and quickly act on it. During COVID-19, the PPP and EIDL loan programs made a lot of money available to these businesses as well. This all adds up to opportunities for growth and innovation.
“We’ve had clients who have innovated and grown during the pandemic,” says Seth Morgan, MLA Founder, and CEO. “But every one of them had to make the decision to change how they approach their business.” Sometimes those changes are forced on a business owner, and the option is to adapt or die. But more often they see an opportunity and are in a position to evaluate whether it’s a fit or not.
One advantage a business owner can deploy is the right tools to measure their progress. In a rapidly changing environment, you need to model various options and get quick feedback on the effects of your decisions. In this scenario, AI-Based digital applications can be particularly attractive as they promise to help you do more with the people you have.
But this can also be a pitfall when these technology platforms are not properly vetted and implemented. “We see many companies who have had a failed technology implementation,” Morgan notes. “These solutions sound great in the sales presentation, but there are always unforeseen challenges and costs. Those mistakes can set a company back months or years, or even sink it completely.”
The solution is to design the process you need without a particular technology solution in mind. Often the technology providers will offer consulting services as part of the package. But that is all provided with the objective of selling you their product. You need an outside, objective perspective to help you design the process, evaluate the technology solution, and implement the one you choose.
The right technology can provide a huge boost to a business. But Morgan offers a word of caution. “Remember, these services will not answer questions you don’t know how to ask. And, if deployed too soon, they will only make your confusion and uncertainty worse.” The better approach is to work out your process beforehand, then find the right tool to streamline and automate that process.
“No decision can be made with perfect confidence about the future,” Morgan states. “That’s more true now than it’s ever been.” But a business owner should have all the information they can to make these decisions, especially about their own company.
MLA can help you select and deploy the right financial and digital tools for your business. Contact us to learn more.