tips for small businessThis post by guest blogger Laura Lyn Plant appears in our series for the Small Business 500.

Growing up, technology always seemed complicated, dry and boring. It wasn’t creative. It was “for boys”. That was, until I entered the “real world”. In a job market that’s more competitive than ever, and with digital natives making up a large and growing proportion of the workforce, I realized that I better start to learn what all the fuss is about.

For anyone who isn’t yet sure about it, here’s why keeping up with technology is so important:

1. Access to information

Information is literally at our fingertips. However, with the ability for anyone to share anything via the internet we need some tech savvy to vet this info for validity, reliability and accuracy. Being aware of all the tools and resources that technology provides can help us navigate through what may seem like the mess, and gather critical information that can help us do whatever it is we do, better.

2. Relationships

Technology offers us tools that can establish and build those critical relationships that help us grow in our careers and be successful. But it’s not just about accessing these connections - understanding how the technology works, and the etiquette around using it, is fundamental to taking a strategic approach. These technologies can help us create strategic relationship plans, if leveraged effectively. Today, we have the ability to do things and access people we never thought possible.

3. Creative outlet

Most non-technical people compare tech, especially programming, to math. It’s not math. Technology offers a plethora of creative outlets that provide a forum for expression that would otherwise be impossible. Creativity is actually fundamental to leveraging technology to its full potential. Without personality being pumped through the veins of most technology resources, it becomes unresponsive, irrelevant and useless. As I “play” with technology more and more, I am finding many outlets for my creativity. In fact, I find myself being challenged to be creative in ways I've never experienced before. My creativity is forced to evolve, grow and diversify.

4. Mobility

I am busy almost always. Mobile technology allows us the option of utilizing every spare minute of our time, if we so desire. By the time I get to my office in the morning, I have responded to all my emails and prepared for my daily agenda. On my phone or tablet, I can be productive while in transit, between meetings, and when I'm in line to get my morning espresso. Leveraging mobile technology can help enhance productivity, efficiency and reduce stress.

5. Personal brand

A web presence has become critical to career strategy management and for differentiating ourselves in the labour market. Online resumes, profiles and portfolios allow us to showcase our accomplishments, but also make it easy for organizations to find us and for us to find them. The days of blasting your resume all over the job boards, especially the former big players, are over. Although the labour market is tight, companies are focusing on hiring the right people the first time, and are more selective than ever. Technology gives you the tools to brand and differentiate yourself and control how you are seen by others in your industry of choice.

5 reasons to leverage the power of technology

-- Laura is a Director for a recently launched not-for-profit organization, Ladies Learning Code. They work to empower everyone to feel comfortable learning beginner-friendly technical skills in a social, collaborative way. 5 reasons to leverage the power of technology

ladieslearningcode.com

@lauralynplant

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