Turn your business into a “technology company” (Part 3).

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 22 March 2016   |   By Strive Masiyiwa

The other day I was watching a program about a young Chinese entrepreneur who created a restaurant that has no waiters. Everyone orders food using an "App" and simply arrives, collects and sits down to eat! Ten years ago, I remember visiting a farmer’s market in rural Kenya where they exchanged prices on their cell phones, from village to village, to ensure that middlemen don't cheat them. It has since developed into a highly sophisticated commodity exchange system. This is technology. In the past few weeks, some of you have shared exciting ways you already use technology in your own businesses. Others of you are just beginning to launch your ideas. You are harnessing the future! Whatever line of work you’re in, you must master technology. It must be your silent partner! Many of you have asked advice about how to get started. Why not use the internet to do research and bring yourself up to speed with best business practices and technology innovations around the world?

Whatever you do, don't think you can be blissfully ignorant, or worse… resistant to the changes happening because of technology. When I was getting started in business, it wasn’t possible to go to my phone or the “world wide web” to search for information about nearly everything. Today, almost all of you can do this. The world can be at your fingertips! If you’re really serious about learning online, consider looking for a “MOOC,” which means a Massive Online Open Course. At www.mooc-list.com, you can find technology education and training courses (and a wide range of other subjects) taught by top universities and colleges around the world. Many are free of charge. Coursera.org is one MOOC with courses on all topics under the sun, including “How to create a website in a weekend” and “Web design for everybody.” You alone must decide what you need to make your business more successful and profitable using technology, but below are a few websites that offer IT courses that may be of interest:

www.udacity.com/courses

www.teamtreehouse.com

www.codeacademy.com

www.code.org

www.khanacademy.org/computing/computer-programming

Remember: information is power! But one word of warning: While the internet has some amazing research information, be sure your sources are trusted and credible. Some of what you read could be worthless and even destructive.  Then I'm done with this series, I want you to be conscious of the impact of technology on the business you’re in now, and imagine its role in the future… not in a negative sense, but in a positive way. You’re not going to get away from the impact of technology. You must either learn to harness its huge potential and use it to your advantage, or it will destroy you. Looking at your own businesses today, you should already be working on these five questions:

# How can technology help me design, produce, market and/or deliver first-class goods and services to my customers?

# How can technology make my business more productive and efficient?

# How can technology make my business bigger?

# How can technology make my business more profitable?

# How can technology help me leapfrog my competitors?

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That should be enough homework for this week!