Knowing how important and convenient the latest technological advances are for your business, you likely want to keep up with the latest trends. However, new tech can be expensive, and it can also get expensive to maintain if you need a dedicated in-house IT employee to manage it all. This expense can be hard for small businesses to afford, but there are more affordable options if you know where to look. These four strategies might make it easier for your small business to afford the newest and most convenient technological advances.
Budget For It
Like every other element of your business, you must plan and budget for technological upgrades as much as possible. Because tech is so important to most businesses, you have to budget for it like you would any other necessary business expense. Be sure to look at past expenditures for technology and plan ahead for how often you might need to upgrade. Having this blueprint will make it much easier to afford the necessary new tech for your business when the time is right to buy. Many manufacturers offer deep discounts at certain times of the year on their products.
Go Open Source
Open source programs are free alternatives to mainstream software. While not without their drawbacks, it is entirely possible to run many businesses entirely with free open source software. There are open source options for a lot of common business software, including alternatives like Open Office and Google Apps for Microsoft Office, Mozilla Thunderbird for Microsoft Outlook, and OFBiz for QuickBooks.
Using open source programs does have some drawbacks –the programs might not have all the features of better-known software, there isn’t much developer support available, and there could be compatibility issues if you need to send files to clients or other professionals. There also might be a bit of a learning curve as employees who are used to mainstream options get acclimated to new software. On the other hand, it’s hard to beat free, especially when these programs have much of the same functionality as mainstream software.
Research Your Options
Deciding what you need and what your business can do without in regards to the latest and greatest technology is a crucial step. If you have a dedicated IT employee or hire out a firm, be sure to listen to any advice they give you, because they know your business’s tech better than anyone. Do what you can to remain aware of new specialized software options that are available in your field. You might come across something that combines features of two or even more programs into one, which can save considerable money per upgrade. You should also do your research and find professionals who offer bundle packages that are more affordable, like ACN, which some people may mistake for a pyramid scheme, when it is really a business opportunity.
Go To The Cloud
Cloud computing can save your company significant money and be more convenient for your organization as well. Many major software providers, such as Adobe, Microsoft, Intuit QuickBooks, and more offer their products as monthly subscriptions rather than as a one-time purchase.
Having a subscription means you only have to manage a small monthly fee and you never have to worry about upgrading, because the programs will always be up-to-date. There are plenty of advantages to using cloud software services for small businesses. It’s usually much cheaper than buying a software license for each machine that needs it and designated users can access cloud programs on any device from anywhere at any time. It’s also secure and will protect and backup your files and data in the case of a fire, hardware failure, or other disaster at your place of business.
Buying the newest and most convenient tech for your small business can be expensive. Fortunately, if you look into your options, you might find something not only more affordable, but also a better fit for your organization. It’s best to shop around and be aware of what software is available, so you can decide which programs, features, and hardware you need and what you don’t.