Updated: May 15, 2020
A month ago, if you asked me to do anything over the computer I would have quickly resisted. I am a people person and I enjoy meeting with people while running my business, CNY Office Furniture. I am constantly on the go driving from place to place and seeing people all over Central and Northern NY. I will drive many hours back and forth throughout the week because I know the value of face to face interactions and until now, I thought there was no other way for me.
I did not grow up with technology and I didn’t want to bother with it. The thought of having to learn how to navigate the digital world was overwhelming and I would have driven 2 hours for a signature over trying to figure out how to have a customer sign a form over the computer. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US. and our whole world seemed to drop everything. Everyone’s priorities changed seemingly overnight. One week was business as usual and the very next week I had every single one of my meetings cancel on me. No one wanted to meet in person.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a very positive person. I can turn almost any negative experience into something positive, but I’ll admit this one was weighing on me. I was discouraged for a few days. I knew I was at a crossroads. I could either wait until this pandemic was over not knowing if my business would survive, or I could adapt and change the way I do business. I chose the latter. It wasn’t long before I was back to my old self, ready to go and eager to take on this next endeavor.
The world went digital and I wasn’t prepared, but I changed my perspective and now I’m thriving!
Once I changed my attitude towards technology, the idea of learning the ropes didn’t seem so challenging. I am blessed with some great people in my life that were willing to give me some helpful insight and knowledge on how I could conduct business digitally. So I got to work and I started to practice. Little by little I started to learn things and soon I wasn’t just learning, I was inspired!
And I’ve only just begun! I am now conducting meetings online through software like Zoom and Join.me. I can help a customer pick furniture and I did learn to sign a contract online. I revamped my whole website and I’m posting more on social media. I consolidated all my contacts, created a flyer and I’m even blogging now! All of this in a matter of a couple weeks! It’s incredible what I have learned and how my whole outlook has changed.
I value face to face interactions. I prefer to sign a piece of paper then sign on a screen. However, I see the value of technology now. I have way more options and so do my customers and we can save so much time. For example, I no longer need to drive 2 hours for a single signature and my customers don’t always have to drop what they are doing to conduct a simple business transaction. Whenever things go back to normal I might still make that 2-hour drive, but it is refreshing to know that sometimes there is a better way. I have embraced technology in a way that I never thought I would, and doors have been opening ever since.
There may be someone reading this that was at that same crossroads a couple weeks ago, maybe you’re still there. If you feel defeated and lack the courage to move forward, I want to encourage you to take the leap. Just go for it! Get together with people that are in your corner, people who can walk you through the right steps. Maybe even ask someone to work a few practice runs with you implementing new technology into what you do. You’ll find that you are saving time, saving gas money and you can even open up a whole new client base. You can do things differently than I did, but it starts with you. You only fail when you give up. So, keep moving forward. Embrace technology and you will thrive!