The Disadvantages of Not Having Basic Computer Skills

By Beth Bartlett

Business moves faster in the age of computers, and business owners are expected to keep up the pace. Email, messaging and other forms of instant communication mean customers and professionals expect a fast response and the ability to share information in a compatible format. It can be challenging to learn computer proficiency, but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.


It takes more time to track revenue, send invoices or letters and respond to customers’ needs without a working knowledge of spreadsheet and word processing programs like Microsoft Excel and Word. Running a business on paper alone or relying on someone else to perform digital tasks costs you time and money. When you’re not able to verify your own figures, export them into reports and compose your own letters, you don’t feel in control of your business and you can’t spot discrepancies before they turn into major problems. If you don’t know how to save files, send them or change them, you will frustrate everyone, from your accountant to your suppliers.

Global Connection

While telephones are still an essential part of running a business, you’re missing out on networking around the world via the Internet. Forums, social media and person-to-person communication from email to Skype are filled with new developments in business and chances to connect with other experts in your field. If you’re not online, you won’t see that information, and you won’t establish relationships with distant contacts who could help you grow your business.


Need to pick up an extra certification in your field or expand your knowledge with a class? It’s nearly impossible without turning on a computer. Even if you attend a local class in person, students are expected to take notes, catch up on lessons and take tests on the computer. If you want to advance your career with a new degree, you won’t be able to take advantage of a university’s online program and attend classes from home.


Traditional advertising in newspapers, radio and TV still exists, but a promotional campaign without social media lacks the punch needed in today’s marketplace. You may not be on social media, but customers may still talk about you and your business on sites like Yelp or Facebook. Without basic online skills, you won’t be able to solve customer problems posted in the public eye or receive valuable feedback. You’ll also miss out on opportunities to reach a much larger audience for free.