Leading Edge or Bleeding Edge of Technology?

I try to read as much as possible to keep up with the latest trends affecting banking, small business, and commercial real estate. One of the most prevalent themes in the articles, blog posts, books, and other headlines I run across is technology. Technology has become critical for small businesses to run and grow their businesses. Let’s take a look at what drives the adoption of technology within your small business – should your business be on the leading edge or the bleeding edge of technology?

Are you on the bleeding edge of technology?

Every day you are bombarded by new technology that you “should” implement in your small business. Some of you out there are early adopters of everything. You pre-order the newest iPhone and have to have the latest app or software as a service platform within your business and personal life. You are the people I consider you to be on the bleeding edge of technology. You’re the first to try it – either because it’s cool or you think it’s going to be great for your business.

Or the leading edge of technology?

Then there are those of you who are a little more cautious but understand that there are some advantages to adopting new technologies. You are the ones I consider on the leading edge of technology. Typically, you’ll wait until a technology or software has been around for a little while, and has been proven, before you take the step of adopting it in your business. There are certainly some benefits to this approach. Waiting usually allows for the price to come down, allows enough time for most of the initial technological issues to be worked out, and decreases the cost for you to implement the technology because others have figured out how to implement it more efficiently than if you were the first.

Being on the bleeding edge of technology has it’s benefits too.

Sure, that is a lot of positives for the leading-edge side, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t positives to the bleeding edge argument. The biggest positive of being on the bleeding edge of technology is that you are able to beat other businesses to the punch if the technology helps you gain a competitive advantage. If you adopt a technology when it first comes out, like the cloud for example, and it ends up greatly increasing efficiency within your business, then you likely have gained an immediate pricing edge against your competition who waited.

Where are most small businesses on the technology edge?

Both sides offer benefits, but I’ve always thought those small businesses who float closer to the leading edge of technology, rather than the bleeding edge, are more likely to come out ahead in the end. You’ll make fewer mistakes than the bleeding edge companies, but still be ahead of the businesses who lag behind the technology curve.

Technology is everywhere, and it will only continue to grow and evolve. Keep your eyes open and you might spot the next breakthrough in your industry before your competition does. And if you do, and you want to discuss it with me, how it might benefit your business, or whether you should be leading or bleeding edge… you know where to find me.