Investment in new technology is always an iffy proposition for many small businesses. The first and perhaps biggest reason is the cost. Many small businesses do not have the capital investment necessary to make a long term commitment. A second reason is that any new technology should present immediate advantages in productivity or sales that are reflected in the bottom line. Despite these limitations, there are times when a small business needs to invest in new technology to remain competitive and, in some cases, to simply survive.
Lack of Mobility
The world has been transformed into a mobile arena for the workforce, making telecommuting more commonplace and employee communication and collaboration exist in real time mode. In other words, if your company is not equipped to take advantage of all the possibilities of mobile devices it is time to seriously consider investing in new technology. This does not mean getting state-of-the-art technology; an upgrade to existing systems that allow employees and management to work remotely from just about anywhere in the world will make a world of competitive difference.
The good news is that with the proliferation of mobile technology, prices have come down considerably from a few years ago. This makes an upgrade budget-friendly while demonstrating to your employees that the company is moving forward, albeit in small steps.
Social media in many cases is the lifeblood of acquiring new customers for a small business. Your presence on social medial is not enough, however. Your business must constantly monitor the conversations, feedback and general temperature of your social media presence on a daily basis. If you are unaware of the available tools, many of them for free, or have not integrated their use into your daily operational plan, now is the time for an upgrade.
When considering this technology upgrade, it is important that you plan the resources, mainly people, who will be used in the upgrade. Collection of data is fine, but if the data are not accurately summarized and evaluated it is a waste of time and money.
There was a time upgrading to new technology was prohibitively expensive for a small business. While those days are generally in the past, many companies choose to look for the cheapest technology solutions for their business. The problem is that the technology has or will fail to keep up with the rapidly changing technology-oriented workforce. This results in changing the definition of new technology to convenient technology. One possible result of this strategy is the company will find itself purchasing new technology more often than it should.
As with the case of acquiring mobile technology, there are budget matters to consider. It is clear everyone cannot have what they want, and in some cases what they need, if more relevant technology is purchased. These are the more difficult choices for a small business and yet need to be made if the company wants to break from its cycle of constantly buying last year’s technology.
One of the final ways to gauge the necessity for upgrading technology is employee morale and productivity. Most new technology involves a learning curve, and you will find employees either learning or applying the new technology to be more efficient. Sometimes the simplest solutions are found in the most obvious places.