Technology exists to help us leverage our resources and do more with less. In fact, one of the best things about technology is how it helps ushandle more business in less time (that thing that we can’t get back and always need more of). At first, new technology means a greater time commitment because there’s a learning curve. But the cost of getting to know the latest BlackBerry upgrade, accounting software, or high-end copier eventually pays off.
But what happens when our technology breaks? And how many of us are dealing with technology frustrations? In the annual Brother Small Business Survey (PDF), 501 small business owners were asked a series of quick questions about their companies (Brother Survey Demographic Report PDF). This tech-related inquiry, in particular, caught my attention:
“In the past year, how often did productivity suffer due to office technology not working properly?”
Only 3 percent said that technology issues affected their productivity all the time. However, according to Brother, the majority – more than three-quarters of small businesses surveyed – indicated that they experienced at least some type of tech-related frustrations in the last year.
In this past year, I have experienced some serious technology downtime of my own including:
- primary computer crashing in the middle of a deadline,
- copiers dying in the middle of a deadline, and
- glitchy cloud-computing backups and synchronizations that overrwrote my latest information.
Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong,” and getting around Murphy’s Law requires a little planning on our part. The biggest time savers during my technology downtime were the automatic backups to the backup, the time buffers that were added to the deadlines, and the fact that I used equipment with excellent repair policies and was able to lease an affordable (temporary) replacement.
John Wandishin, Vice President of Marketing, Brother International, has it right. “When running a small business, time is the ultimate commodity,” Wandishin said in announcing the survey results. “Small business owners are looking for reliable equipment and services that help [save time].” Ultimately, we want to spend more time addressing the core of our business, not fixing our equipment.
But sometimes, stuff happens. As small business owners we have to do all the planning that we can to prepare for those moments – and move through them quickly to get back to our customers.
How do you plan to prevent technology downtime, and what do you do when downtime happens anyway?