The Internet is a powerful and fascinating tool for small business owners, providing almost endless opportunities for growth on a personal, professional, and business level. But, all of that power and potential doesn’t come without a price: the Internet world moves incredibly quickly, and the opportunities for growth that the online era has created can also produce a lot of fear and anxiety for small business owners.
If you ever notice yourself feeling afraid, anxious, or overwhelmed by the Internet, know that you aren’t alone. Lots of small business owners, especially those who have been in business since before the Internet rose to its current dominating prominence, can get frustrated or feel nervous about the Internet world. And, restaurant owners of all kinds are no exception. Rather than ignoring those fears, today we will tackle five of them head on, and share some of our thoughts on how to overcome them. Here are five of the most common fears the Internet provokes in restaurateurs.
Fear 1: Everyone Knows Something I Don’t
Everyone who has had to adapt to the new technologies of the Internet age has felt at some point that the rest of the world must be in on some secret that they aren’t, but the truth is that most small business owners have taught themselves everything there is to know about the Internet economy.
The best way to conquer the fear of feeling left out of the loop is to be proactive about your own Internet education. Read as many restaurant blogs as you can. Look into classes at a local community college. If one of your competitors knows more than you, they probably haven’t for long, and the best way to assure yourself that you are remaining competitive is to take your own education seriously.
Fear 2: Internet Tools Won’t Bring a Return on My Investment
The Internet can do a whole lot, but many of the tools out there won’t produce enough revenue to justify you investing in them. The same logic has always been true: the Internet just creates new fears by making tools so much more easily available, and by making restaurant owners feel like they have to invest in everything to remain competitive.
In reality, there are a lot of tools out there whose profitability you can see directly. In order to overcome the fear that your money isn’t being spent wisely, make sure that you can trace the actual revenue produced by each tool you invest in. Online ordering is a perfect example of an eTool that will settle your fears, as you will be able to see directly how much money investing in online ordering brings in.
Fear 3: My Staff Won’t Want to Learn New Technologies
For restaurant owners who also manage their own teams and take a very hands-on role in the daily operations of their restaurant, one of the biggest fears that the Internet can provoke is the fear that old staff members won’t have the time, patience, or desire to learn about new tools. Indeed, training staff members on new technologies can be a tiresome and overwhelming process in itself, and some fears in this are probably justified.
Too often, this is a self-fulfilling fear, and the way that restaurant owners introduce new technologies creates the very friction that managers fear. Whenever you want to introduce your staff to a new tool, start by emphasizing as heavily as possible how each staff member and the restaurant as a whole will benefit from new technologies. Give staff members the chance to see the big picture, and genuinely ask them for their concerns, and you will find that this friction and the anxiety it produces can be overcome.
Fear 4: I Just Can’t Keep Up
Yes, there is a whole lot of information out there, and there are new technologies and methods getting developed literally every day. Everyone, including each and every one of your competitors, deals with the same time constraints and the same limitations on how much they can realistically do in a day. You aren’t alone in feeling overwhelmed, and you certainly aren’t alone in the fact that the speed of progress makes you feel afraid.
The truth is that most of those tools out there won’t make or break you. True, some big technologies will come into play that you won’t be able to ignore. However, as long as you are investing some time to read relevant blogs and publications, and doing your best to stay on top of things, you won’t fall any further behind than any of your competitors.
Fear 5: The Internet Will Put Me out of Business
Every small business owner can identify with this fear. But, as a restaurant owner, you don’t need to worry too much. Look around you. People always have and will always love to eat. You have nothing to be afraid of. A good restaurant experience will never go obsolete.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today.