Reid Rubenstein is the Managing Partner of RefiJet, a leader in the auto refinance industry.
It’s hard to believe there are more technological advances every year, but that’s certainly the case. At some point, it’s natural to think there can’t be any more steps forward. Things have to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible in 2022, right?
Of course, owners of small businesses and large corporations alike know that something new is always around the corner and new tech trends emerge every year. My auto-refinance business relies on these advancements, and I can tell you firsthand that it’s essential to be aware of any opportunities these advancements could provide for your business. But how do you determine which technology fits your business, and how should you introduce it to your operations?
Here are some insights I’ve gained from building a tech-reliant business, along with the questions our team asks before embracing a new piece of technology.
What value will this bring to those you serve and those with whom you work?
The goal of every business is to attract and serve as many customers as possible, and there are a few ways to get there. While it’s a massive advantage to provide a unique service or product, that’s not always attainable. For those who are offering similar services as their competitors, the next advantage will be making the service more easily accessible to the consumer.
My company, for example, helps bridge the gap between car owners and the lenders who could help them refinance their auto loans. There are other ways to do it, sure, but being an easy online solution for customers to find the best lender for refinancing is a real advantage for us. That means tech is incredibly important to our model.
But the value for consumers is only part of the equation. If you have partnerships with other businesses that are crucial to your operations, does the technology benefit those relationships as well? These two factors — those you work for and those you work with — can often benefit mutually when your business operates effectively. Just as we strive to make things easier for borrowers, we can offer the same to lenders the other way.
When deciding whether to introduce new technology into your model, consider how new tech solutions could provide these sorts of benefits and ultimately how it might affect the efficiency of your own workforce.
Does the new tech boost efficiency specifically where you need it?
Too often, people think of advances in technology only in terms of the most popular products like smartphones or video conferencing platforms. In business, though, there are so many points of operations that could be made more efficient through new tech.
From software that automates payroll to technology that securely stores information or logistical improvements among vendors, tech can touch so many points in your operations. Finding the points that need the most efficiency will allow you to determine which technology is worth the investment and worth the transition.
Ultimately, you want your employees to be as productive as possible. You want them to find that productivity with as few headaches as possible.
How do you smoothly integrate new tech into your operations?
There’s no guarantee that a transition into new technology is going to be entirely smooth. Those headaches might occur as you switch from one operating strategy to another. Employees might be used to the way things were, and customers might not recognize certain aspects of your service if it changes.
If these issues are unavoidable, it’s incumbent upon the business owner to clearly communicate how these transitions will be made. Whether you’re relaying the information to employees, vendors or customers, you should aim to understand and predict the effects any switch could have and ensure they are well prepared and bought in.
Although improving technology can often seem like a short-term action because it happens so often, every business owner should treat these transitions with a long view. Just as you would with any adjustment to your business plan, you have a vision for the future and a roadmap to get there. There might be bumps along the way, but you are ultimately giving your business the right tools to succeed.