I have been researching how technology can affect small businesses in their respective management practices and tangible purchases. Most of my research has mostly to do with Information Technology because as a small business owner I understand the mental anguish I personally go through deciding if it is time to take the BIG STEP.
What I mean by the term, Big Step, is that I may feel pressure to upgrade my server or buy the newest POS software. Do I need this technology for my business? I must first research the product, find businesses that are already using it, put together a forecast of how this product will affect business, will there be a significant amount of profit loss in the beginning, and much more.
I believe it was the New York Times in the 1930's that said that the common pencil would shortly disappear from offices and businesses due to the production of the typewriter. I can safely say that the New York Times were all too wrong about that prediction, yet imagine you were a small business owner who owned a pencil making shop. You have been making a little profit and just getting by, and you pick up your copy of the New York Times and there it is on the front page, Pencils May Disappear! Your heart races, and depending on your experience and education you make either an impulsive decision or an educated decision for your business.
The impulsive decision would be to begin closing your pencil-making shop and start assembling typewriters or at least reselling them. With the Great Depression at hand, you end up loosing it all because the typewriter really made it's mark in the mid 1940's and you were bankrupt before you could reap any profits ten years later.
The educated decision would be to continue pencil-making while starting to research the typewriter. Trust your actual sales and productivity for the now, but do not be ignorant of a growing future elsewhere. This person would perhaps decide to advertise their pencils on the same page as a typewriter ad in the New York Times. The majority of people would see the price tag for typewriter and a pencil and most likely buy the pencil first.
I am not one to agree with always holding back from a potential profit that could change your life, but wisdom would say to carefully research your options. Right now in our time and age there is an overwhelming amount of advertising that compels businesses to make a change, upgrade, re-train, sell something else, or overhaul your business practice. Before you buy into the message you must have a vision for the future of your business.
The bottomline is that not all technology in your market is necessary to implement, but understanding the technology in your market is an absolute necessity.