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John Norton - Expert Author

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30 May 2013

Information Technology

A recent Daily Telegraph article quoted a poll of 4,000 companies by insurance company Simply Business.

The poll found that one in five companies with fewer than 10 staff, lack even rudimentary IT skills, and of those businesses 40% thought that lack of technology knowledge was a key factor hindering their growth.

Almost half of the responding businesses over 10 years old, had no web site, and one in five planned to spend nothing on IT investment in 2013.

Iím afraid Iím a bit mystified by the thinking of these businesses. Do they try to maintain their own company vehicles? If they canít, do they walk everywhere when the vehicles break down? Of course not. They get them properly maintained by an expert.

Right Tools for the Job

I have always been keen on doing basic DIY around the house and I have learnt some important lessons in the process:

Invest in the right tools

The quality improvement and time saved by having the right tool for the job can never be over emphasised. Hacking away at something with a 10 year old saw will take 10 times as long as using a circular saw, and give a shoddy result. Whether the jobís big or small I now always try to find which tool is right for the job and order one.

Know your limitations

I never attempt to go beyond my skill set but always make sure I use a good team of quality workers when needed. Iíve carried out major re-building projects by doing all the unskilled labour and managing the project, whilst bringing in experts when needed. Those projects still cost less than half what a fully contracted project would have cost, but were arguably done in less time and to a higher quality.

Focus on your strengths

Doing DIY around the house is not usually time critical, but when developing property to sell on, time costs money. So instead of trying to do everything I possibly could do myself, Iíd use a professional in order to double up the resource, and get the property back on the market quicker.

Expertise Saves You Money

So whatís all that got to do with IT in business?

Invest in the right tools

I know that using the right IT tools will save my business time and money, improve customer service, cash collection, sales targeting and many other areas. So I always use a spread sheet instead of a calculator, a word document instead of a notebook, an automated tool instead of a manual one, even if it initially costs a bit more, or takes a bit longer to learn.

Know your limitations

Iím lucky in that I am able to comfortably utilise IT myself, but there are parts of the business which I donít feel adequately well versed in, and I will always seek to use an expert in order to get the best results, whether thatís as a short term function until I gain the experience needed, or as a long term feature in order that I can focus on my specialist areas.

Focus on your strengths

The idea of being in business, even in a small way is not to do everything yourself, itís to do what youíre good at and enjoy doing. So when you know that your business could improve or grow with new techniques or tools donít ignore the opportunity, or try to bodge it yourself, get an expert to do it for you or show you how. It will save you money; the job will be done twice as well, in half the time, and you can get on with earning more doing what youíre an expert at.

So if you can see that your completion is moving ahead due to better use of IT, or know you should be doing more with IT, or even if youíre not sure, Get Some Help. Itís not as expensive as you think, and it will almost certainly cost you less in the medium and long term.

About the Author

John Norton, is a senior business and finance professional with a big four, blue chip, software and technology background, and board level leadership experience in finance, IT, operations, customer service and general management.

He is owner of No Worry Web, which creates and manages small business web sites and social media presence, for an all-inclusive monthly fee. For further details see or call 0845 5191 275.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-07-08 09:26:15 in Computer Articles

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