As a business owner, technology is a must for your success and growth, but with so many exciting and productive options it can be hard to know where to start. These will, of course, depend on your situation, but we’ve put together a solid starting point based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

You may have heard about Maslow in your Psych 101 course, but if you skipped that day, here’s a quick rundown: Abraham Maslow classified needs that must be met before people can think about fulfilling the next. It began with basic needs like food and water and moves all the way up to self-actualization. For example, if you are starving, you probably aren’t worried about making friends.

The same thought can be mirrored in your organization’s technological needs. There is some cool tech that you simply have to wait to procure before implementing some of the more basic (and maybe boring) tech.

Here are the sections of the Technology Hierarchy of Needs.

1. Basic Function

The first tech that you need is the most basic. This is what you need to run your organization at the bare minimum. For hardware that will probably mean things like computers and phones. If you can somehow run an organization without those two things, I’d like to know what you do.

When it comes to the intangible tech foundation of your business, most likely the first thing you will need an internet connection. As much as you may have a love/hate relationship with the internet, that’s where most business is conducted these days. That means you will need an email and a website. If your team or your customers can’t communicate with you, then what are you even doing.

Next, you have to pay people. Accounting software is a must. Even if you are running a one-person show, the government is still going to require documentation that accounting software can help you manage. You may be thinking, “Well I’ll hire an accountant and that’s that.”

That’s great, but you will still have to give your accountant copies of your expenses, receipts, bank statements, credit card statements, etc., so software can come in handy.

2. Cyber Security

Surprisingly, some people think the security part of the hierarchy comes later, but as soon as you have the foundational technology your organization needs, it absolutely has to be safeguarded. Each organization needs to decide its required level of cybersecurity for themselves, but with advanced persistent threats, there can be no denying that not having any is not an option.

Some tech that you can implement

  • Antivirus programs
  • Firewalls
  • Extra logins
  • Encryption programs

Safety is especially important for your organization’s documents and files. Whether it’s your client’s financial data or proprietary industry secrets, your business probably deals with sensitive information multiple times a day. You can significantly reduce your risk and get some peace of mind when you share files with SmartFile. We keep your files safe and your data secure. Here are some extra security tips for file sharing.

3. Social Connection

Much like in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, after you have your basic needs met and feel safe from threats, you feel the freedom to make connections with other people, namely your current and prospective clients. And also like in our personal lives, this step in the hierarchy is never finished. You will always need to make an effort to connect with the people in your personal and professional lives.

But don’t think you have to have everything mastered at once. You can start rudimentarily and then ramp up your efforts. Social connection can look differently to organizations depending on a number of factors.

The avenue that comes to mind most frequently these days is social media. But don’t put all your metaphorical eggs into the social media basket. There’s plenty of other ways to connect with people, including email newsletters and customer surveys.

4. Automation and Productivity

This is my favorite step; this is where you can begin to implement tech that will make things easier on yourself and your team. This would include project management tools, marketing automation tools, social media scheduling tools and any other tech that isn’t required for your business to operate but can streamline your business processes.

But before you even think about diving into this step, define your business processes first. It would be a shame to go through procurement and find out the tech doesn’t do what you need it to.

Figure out what works best for you and your team and, take it from me, watch the training videos so you can use the tools and platforms to their fullest.

5. Growth

The pinnacle of the Technology Hierarchy of Needs are tools that will focus on growing your business from where it is now, to where you want it to be. This could include custom software or mobile apps for your team or customers, or it could be upgrades to better solutions.

This step often looks like a smaller, more concentrated version of the hierarchy. You may think about going back through the previous sections to see if there are options to expand. Is there a better (more expensive) tool that can do more for your team that you hadn’t been sustainable before?

As you move further up the pyramid, you may find that you won’t (or can’t) completely fulfill one before beginning work on the next. That’s ok and completely normal since you should always be working to improve your organization.

One of the technologies that can fit into a couple of sections of the Technology Hierarchy of Needs is a file sharing solution. SmartFile’s platform is user-friendly, efficient, and customizable. Give SmartFile a try for free today — no credit card required!

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About John Hurley

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of SmartFile. My role is to find the right people and give them the right tools and resources needed to grow both professionally and personally.

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