by guest writer Tina Martin
Photo via Pexels
How can small businesses afford to invest in tech? It’s a question many entrepreneurs are asking these days as digital resources become more widely available, but there aren’t many easy answers. The truth is, there are some forms of technology that most small business owners can’t afford to be without, such as quality cybersecurity software, and finding a way to pay for it can be tricky.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to make certain types of tech more accessible for your business, such as ensuring that your website is well-built and able to maximize sales. You can also try some new services before purchase so that once you have full access to them, you’ll be as productive as possible. To help you decide what your business needs, here's a few things to consider:
1. HIRE A PRO
Sometimes, you must spend a little to make more. Investing in a quality website will pay for itself repeatedly, especially if you take the time to build e-commerce capabilities or even a monetized blog within it. Consider hiring a professional developer who can take the basic template to a new level and boost your return on investment. Look for a qualified developer through job boards and read reviews of their work if possible. While most developers charge by the hour, it will be well worth the expense to have a custom-built website.
2. KEEP IT SECURE
Once you have a great site up and running, it’s crucial to protect it. Keep things safe by investing in a solid security system that includes endpoint detection and response (which helps you detect a threat to your network), anti-virus software, and email gateway security. These days, you can get quite a bit of protection without spending a ton of money, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your data and customer info are safe. Not only that, but the right protection can also prevent costly legal issues.
3. MANAGE YOUR CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
Protecting your customers’ info is essential, but managing that information is just as important. Investing in CRM software can help you keep track of your customer base and manage your communications with them, even going as far as telling you who is opening your emails and how long it’s been since you reached out to a loyal shopper. These tools can also help you analyze your customer relationships and suggest engagement tips that will keep them coming back.
4. MAKE SURE YOUR PAYROLL SYSTEM IS TOP-NOTCH
Payroll processing can be a complex and time-consuming task, especially if you have a lot of employees. Investing in quality payroll processing software can save you a lot of time and money eventually. The right payroll processing services can automate many of the tasks involved in payroll processing, including tax calculations and employee payments. This can free up your time to focus on other aspects of running your business. In addition, quality payroll software can help to ensure that your employees are paid accurately and on time. This can reduce turnover and help to improve morale in the workplace.
5. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE GETTING
Before you invest in any kind of technology, it’s crucial to make sure you understand what you need, what you’re getting, and whether you’ll be able to get help when problems arise, technical or otherwise. Most companies that offer tech services will include a customer support line for troubleshooting tips, so it’s an innovative idea to call that number before you lay out any money and make sure someone is there to help. You can also ask about any recurring costs and whether the product requires special hardware or software to work properly. Try out a demo so you can test the product before committing to it; most companies will make this happen if they believe it will lead to a sale.
It can be useful to settle for free tools in lieu of purchasing the full version of a given software. For instance, if you don’t handle a lot of digital documents, you may only need to edit your PDF files occasionally. It makes much more sense from a value perspective to use a free online editing tool in such a case.
Finding the right technology for your small business sometimes requires a little trial-and-error, so don’t be afraid to test out a few products before buying. You can also talk to other small business owners and find out what they’ve used, what works, and what you should avoid altogether. In the meantime, focus on some of the basics like a professionally designed website, cybersecurity, quality CRM and payroll processing software. Remember, the adage about spending money to make money often rings true when you invest in solutions that help grow your business.