We’re living in a golden age of technology. Whatever the need, we’re told, there’s an app for that. Internal collaboration, customer management, market analysis and beyond—all tasks once handled with in-person meetings and a good old fashioned pen and paper have gone digital. Today’s entrepreneurs have more tools at their disposal than their predecessors could’ve dreamed of. Life is good, right?
Well, there’s one hitch: The process of choosing the right tech solutions for your company from an ever-rising sea of options, not to mention implementing them successfully, has become a new kind of drain on time and resources. The same time and resources this newfangled technology is supposed to preserve in the first place.
Smart entrepreneurs, however, realize that staying on top of not just the latest, but most effective, technology is essential to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Because if you’re not, someone else will be. So I asked members of the Leader Board to explain how they embrace disruptive tools—without letting them disrupt their day-to-day operations and long-term growth.
Founder and CEO, TerraCycle
“As with any of our staff, we hire well-trained and open-minded professionals who are ready to explore new technology and create innovative solutions. We look at how technology advances can help our employees work better and more efficiently. However, when we are investigating new methods and technology paths, we don’t get lost in the ever-expanding process that can come along with that. We need to take care of our existing technologies too, focusing on the maintenance of the products we are using across our multiple global offices.”
Founder and CEO, Shoptiques
“You have to constantly stay relevant in your business model and in technology—both tools you are using and technology you are offering. One of our core company principals is to always question the status quo. Innovation has to be part of the culture and it is important to encourage your team to adapt new processes, new technology or other operational changes.”
“Our approach to technology internally is to accelerate understanding of how our brand and products are performing, so we can make faster decisions. Our business-intelligence initiatives have been focused on creating greater transparency of data to all team members, so we can be more responsive, given the strong growth that we have been enjoying. In today’s world, data is power, so we have to ensure everyone has access, but also in a way that doesn’t drown people in too much analytical insight and causes decision paralysis. Insight plus intuition is a balance we can’t lose to drive an innovative culture.”
Co-Founder, Hella Cocktail Co.
“We installed a new printer in the office today—that was exciting! Seriously, though, tech moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. The beautiful thing about a lot of the tech out there is that it's highly personalized. Meaning, each of us has a different set of tools we use that enhance our own work and efficiency. But there are always new tools out there that promise XYZ, and if you stopped and gave every one of them a try, you'd never get anything done. The fact is, the implementation of a new tool, whether on your personal computer or mandated as a part of operations, it needs to be worth the time to learn and onboard. The implementation of said technology often happens organically; we don't necessarily know what we need until we need it and then we find that thing that works for that task.”