It’s a cutthroat business climate out there, but small business technology levels the playing field now more than ever. With the proliferation of cloud-based applications, it’s easy for small businesses to use enterprise technology that previously would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars up front. Yet some small business owners may be swayed by some small business technology misconceptions and not use it effectively.
Small business technology is expensive
As mentioned in the intro, small business technology is more affordable than ever. For most applications, all you need is a computer with internet access. You’ll pay a monthly fee for applications you use, like Freshbooks or HubSpot. This makes technology an operating expense, rather than a capital expense. The only capital expenses you’ll have will be the computers themselves. Some of the applications you can use:
- Shared drives
- Productivity applications like word processing and spreadsheets
Cloud-based technology isn’t secure
Actually, the cloud is more secure than ever; cloud storage may actually be more secure than on-premises servers. Companies like Google and Amazon have large enterprise money behind them to secure their cloud servers and monitor the latest threats. Examine what these companies are doing to protect your data, particularly if you deal with regulated data, before signing up for cloud services.
I should invest in all the small business technology
There are a lot of shiny small business technology objects available, from cloud-based software to handheld gadgets. But here’s what you need to do:
- Evaluate your needs. What do you need the technology for? Is it to keep track of finances, send marketing campaigns and/or track leads? It’s tempting to get five different email marketing systems, a few proposal packages, and some lead generation technology. But if you don’t know how you’re going to use it, don’t pay for it. Use a trial version until you’re sure this is the right technology for you.
- Align your needs with your budget. With the as-a-service offerings, you won’t be investing one big chunk at once – but you will still pay monthly. Figure out what you can afford to pay for technology on a monthly basis.
Small business technology doesn’t have to be a difficult choice. By aligning your budget with your needs, knowing what offerings exist, and planning carefully, it’s possible to save money and compete with larger businesses.