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Invest in People, Not Tech

By Jessica Albon

Old Computers by Leif K-Brooks

Old Computers by Leif K-Brooks at http://www.flickr.com/photos/eurleif/

The other day I was talking to a client who was rattling off a long list of tech tools she uses in her business. There were two iPhones, a netbook, a laptop, a desktop, an iPad, a Google Chromebook, a Kindle, and a Nook (and I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting several somethings).

All of these gadgets were supposed to make things easier for her so that she could manage more on her own.

But it hasn’t worked that way. Instead, it’s left her feeling more overwhelmed than ever and more like she must do it herself because she canAfter all, she’s invested so much–how can she possibly admit defeat now?

She wanted me to direct her to another app that could rescue her or another program that would make things easier but instead (perhaps because of my own sudden confrontation with physical limits–thanks back pain!) I said, “There are people who can do this for you, you know.”

I get it, that drive to do everything yourself.

I can relate to wanting to be able to, wanting to prove yourself competent. The belief that you can do it all better than anyone else (oy do I know that one!). That no one else will do it to your standards. That people let you down, fall short, forget, and just plain aren’t as reliable as technology.

And, hey, let’s face it, learning new things is fun!

But what if part of the reason that technology can feel more reliable than people is that we invest so much in it? What if all that research you do before deciding which model Kindle is right for you is the reason you’re happy with the one you chose?

What if that willingness to read the manual is the reason your iPad has made work easier?

What if you took that same approach and started applying it to finding people to support your business?

I know it can be hard to delegate. It can be scary.

I’m often the first person a client has ever delegated to–they just plain can’t do the newsletter or website on their own anymore and so they call me and my team to come in. I think it helps that my work has a direct (and big!) impact on the business’s bottom line so that makes it easier to justify the investment. That bottom line return means that before they’ve hired an assistant, before they’ve ever worked with temporary support, they call me.

Which means I get to see just how hard it is to delegate that first time–and just what a significant difference it can make to a business. It means I’ve seen all the facets of the way investing in people can help both from my own business and from clients’ businesses.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it doesn’t mean you should spend your time finding a better app or a better gadget. It means it’s time to get (more) help.

If it makes you feel safer, start by finding help for those things that will impact your bottom line most (like getting support with your email marketing–making more money there will mean more money to invest in other support). Or, just stop buying new gadgets for a few months and save that money to invest in people. 😉

However you do it, know that getting the right (human) support in your business will have a much bigger impact than any netbook or iGizmo ever could.

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Comments

Amanda Jul 11, 2013

This sounds exactly like me! You’re right–I keep buying gadgets to make my work easier so that I can do it all myself. But why? Why wouldn’t I just let people help me… Thanks for this!


June Jul 11, 2013

If I could get dh to stop buying electronics, I could hire a magnificent support staff! Thanks for these tips.


Leslie Jul 12, 2013

I can really relate to this–all these tech tools were supposed to make life easier and yet it seems like they just make it all more complicated. I couldn’t live without my phone, but that doesn’t mean I have to do it all just because I have access to the internet wherever I am.


Jenny Jul 12, 2013

YES!!! I tell my cliends this all the time. Its so true!


Ben Jul 12, 2013

Jessica–I think this might be more of a female entrepreneur thing. Both my wife and I own businesses and I’m addicted to gadgets but have no trouble getting help. She, on the other hand, definitely sees it as an “I’ve invested all this money, I should do it myself” equation. Forwarding this to her to see what she says.