How to Choose the Right Tech Investments for Your Small Business
When it comes to running your small business, technology can help set you apart from the competition. Technology can make your life infinitely easier and can also streamline your business’s communication, sales, productivity, and other matters. Today’s rapid pace of innovation means that not only are new technologies becoming available seemingly every day, but are also more accessible for businesses of all sizes.
However, as a small business owner, making new technology investments isn’t always a simple feat. Where should you invest money, and where can you save? What features should you look for when selecting the right piece of technology for your business? Is new technology something you really need?
Most small businesses already recognize and understand the value of technology, but the sheer number and range of available solutions can quickly become overwhelming. A study by printer company Brother found 63% of small business owners frequently feel overwhelmed with the number of technologies available to run their business.
If your small business is considering a new technology investment, here are four tips to consider:
Don’t Cut Corners
The cardinal rule of small business technology: don’t try to skimp on costs. Many technology service providers or vendors may boast that they’re a budget-friendly option, but often don’t provide the same quality of services as their more-costly counterparts. Paying for cheap services often produces similar results—you’ll likely have to pay to get things fixed and you could even be putting your business at risk for security issues, like getting hacked. When the right technology tool for your business exceeds your current budget, you may want to consider applying for a small business loan. This way, you have an adequate amount of working capital to dedicate to a worthwhile and effective technology investment.
Take Scalability Into Consideration
Many ambitious small businesses aspire to grow and expand their current offerings. With that in mind, it’s vital to select technology tools that can scale, or grow with you as your business expands. For this reason, many businesses are opting into ready-to-scale cloud-based technologies. Cloud-based technologies give your business the option to grow and contract as your business requires it, eliminating the need to invest in a new solution when your business outgrows its current one. Modern cloud suites offer a myriad of business applications, which organizations can use to enhance functionality or add additional services on demand. For example, cloud-based ERP systems scale to support added employees and transactions as your business grows by size or even expands into new markets.
Invest in Research and Development
As you begin investing in new technologies for your organization, it’s critical to partner with vendors that prioritize continuous research and development in their products. This ensures your organization is not only current on technology when you first implement it, but continues to stay up-to-date on emerging technologies in the future too. Before selecting your technology partners, be sure to inquire about their research and development (R&D) spending. Opting into technologies that place a strong emphasis on R&D is sure to benefit your business in the long run, as it will allow you to stay current on digital capabilities long after your initial investment.
Consider Productivity-Enhancing Tools
According to a recent Small and Medium Business Trends report, small businesses that embrace automation are thriving, while those who don’t are struggling amidst competitors. When manual processes are automated, staff can focus on other areas of the business that can’t be automated, such as developing strategies to drive new business forward, or solving team-oriented, complex problems. Automation helps small businesses digitize their operations and streamline tasks that were once completed manually, like customer information management and data analytics. At the same time, automation means that you don’t have to dedicate funding to other costly areas, like workforce salaries, overtime, or recruiting costs.
The financial concerns behind acquiring new business technologies don’t have to be as daunting as they may seem initially. As a small business owner, technology can be an important asset, especially when it comes to productivity, communication, and even cutting costs. Be sure to use the tips above when investing in new technology for your small business.