Technology is fascinating, changing daily and confusing all at the same time. It can help keep you organized, handle tedious chores automatically, and connect you globally. It can also cost you lots of unnecessary dollars if you are not careful. Here are some helpful tips to follow:
Establish a Budget
The first step in deciding which types of technology to invest in is putting together a budget. The newest equipment and software run the gamut in price from a 99 cent app to more complex systems that cost in the thousands. Set up a budget and stick to it. Base it on how much you can reasonably afford to invest.
Be Aware of the Full Cost
New technology is the sum of the sticker price plus the cost of implementing it. Consider these points:
- Does it need special installation?
- Does it need ongoing maintenance?
- Do you need to pay for training?
- Are upgrades free or do you pay for them?
- Are there data storage costs involved?
- Do you need to buy additional software?
- What accessories are essential?
- Will you pay for ongoing support?
Fit the Technology to Your Needs
Make sure the items you are considering fit your business needs. If you constantly travel from customer to customer, think mobile device instead of a desktop. Do you really need to upgrade your server? Instead of buying the software yourself, would a Software-As-A-Service, or SaaS offering be more cost effective? Can you rely on the cloud?
Look for Compatibility and Security
Make sure that new devices you purchase will work with your existing equipment. A great piece of Mac software will not do you any good in a Windows environment unless you buy additional software.
Is it secure? This is a very real hazard for a small business. Make sure that what you buy can be protected with the proper levels of security. Taking shortcuts with the cost of security could come back and severely damage your business.
In the last five years, cloud-based services have grown exponentially. This offers small businesses a number of benefits:
- Your content and data can be accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection.
- Since you do not have to install software, you do not have to buy updates or worry about getting the latest version.
- Storage problems are solved.
- Apps run on any device.
- Backups are automatic.
Using cloud-based services offers simplicity and peace of mind, since you do not have to worry about storage and updates. You do not have to pay for software, but instead subscribe to it using a SaaS model.
Today, the right technology can help streamline your operations, provide better customer service and make your life easier. Just be sure to do your research, ask the right questions before you buy and stick to your budget.
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