When you’re a small business owner, you need just about all of the help you can get to keep things afloat. With new developments in software and technology, getting the extra help you need is easier than ever. But how do you invest in new technology while still working on a small business budget? If you’ve asked yourself this question before, you’re in the right place. With these five tips, you can access the technology you need without derailing your tight budget.
1) Invest in functional tech
New iPhones, tablets, and computers are debuting everyday— and it seems like once a new model comes out, the former becomes obsolete. But this structure just isn’t practical when you’re working on a limited budget. When buying technology, it is important to do some research on the best desktop computers for the money, yes. But you should also think about the longevity and functionality of the product you’re looking to purchase.
Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine whether or not you need a tech product.
- Do I need this product to run my business?
- Will this product save me time?
- Does this product fit into my budget?
- Will this product still be useful five years from now?
- How much training will my staff need with this product?
Taking a moment to evaluate these answers will help you determine whether or not you need to invest in a new product, help you discover alternatives, and ultimately avoid frivolous spending on tech that’s not going to work for you a few years down the road. Pro Tip: Be sure to read reviews on products and compare before investing in a product that’s not going to be right for you and your business later on.
2) Find the right internet service provider
There’s nothing more frustrating than spotty internet getting in the way of your productivity goals. But internet is far from free, and a strong connection could end up costing you a lot in monthly bills. Before you sign onto an internet service provider (ISP), make sure to compare ISPs available in your area.
3) Buy used if you can
Technology casualties happen. But when your business relies on electronics to keep things in operation, you simply don’t have time or budget to waste on missing computers or phones. If you need a new work mobile phone, tablet, or computer, use Gazelle to purchase used electronics in good condition.
4) Take advantage of FREE tools
Most businesses have some need for office suite programs like Excel and Word, but you might not need the highest subscription package to get the job done. Opt for a free office software instead to access the features you need, on the cheap.
And the budget-friendly software tools don’t stop at spreadsheets— there are plenty of specialized software programs to help you meet all of your production needs. Canva, for example, is a free, user-friendly graphic design platform that can be used to design and publish marketing materials, create business cards, and customize office signage.
If you’re already feeling the creative juices flowing— why not get even more hands on with your business and create your own website. Use Squarespace to create a website to help you boost business and create local and online awareness for your brand. Connect it with the free version of Hubspot to accelerate your marketing efforts even further. The best part? Your return on investment is sure to be worth it since there’s no cash on the line.
5) Cut costs elsewhere
In the digital age, you really can’t avoid spending money on technology— and it tends to be on the high side of most business owners’ budgets. But what you can do is save money elsewhere in your yearly budget. Here are some ideas to help you cut operational costs to make room for your business’ tech needs.
- Rent office furniture
- Trade goods and services with other local businesses
- Use an app to help you manage utility expenses
- Find ways to make your day more productive
- Ask yourself— is HR software is right for me?
Spending money on technology is pretty much inevitable if you want to be relevant in the modern marketplace. But while you’ll likely have to fork over some cash, using these tips can help your budget and tech needs function in close to perfect harmony.