Let’s face it; any business in the twenty-first century that’s not embracing technology is either completely locked in with their clients or they’re on a steady decline.  Whether we like it or not, the world has become a digital marketplace where a staggering 500 million computers, laptops, and tablets are sold annually.  Even if it seems like technology is not important to your industry, it is likely how your potential clients are researching their numerous options.  In other words, you are at the mercy of your IT department in more ways than one.

Then again, embracing technology within your small business can only lead to positive growth if your purchases are based on productivity and sales.  Here are five small business technology tips that will aid you with those decisions.

Keep Tech in Your Budgethttp://www.dreamstime.com/-image10679301

The #1 mistake that most small businesses make when it comes to innovations is not preparing for tomorrow’s technology today.  Besides everyday necessities like state of the art video cards, memory, and wireless printers, your sales force will constantly demand the latest and greatest in order to remain competitive.  Tablets and smartphones are the 1980’s equivalent to calculators and briefcases in the business world so do not confuse yourself into thinking that these are “luxury” items.  Tech savvy businesses are thriving in today’s marketplace and it requires a continual investment.  Regardless of where your company is at in terms of sales or market share, there will come a time in the near future when technological expansions are inevitable.  It is far better to prepare for that moment today than to be caught off guard tomorrow.

Embrace Mobile Technology

The exact same point can be made for mobile technology because it makes productivity skyrocket.  Today’s smartphone is almost twenty times faster than the old PC 133’s that so many of us grew up on and with access to the World Wide Web, everything from videoconferencing to cloud sharing can be accomplished with a flick of the finger.  Add to that the concept that most workers end up “taking their work home with them” and it becomes apparently clear that mobile technology literally pays for itself in spades.

Also, it is not enough to assume that most employees will opt to buy their own smart gadget because increased productivity and a higher chance of closing sales is never to be left to chance.  Regardless of who’s making the purchase, get your company synced up and embrace this technology.

Measure All Future Upgrades

performanceOn the other hand, don’t fall into the rut of thinking that every time new tech hits the market, it needs to be purchased in order for your company to stay ahead of the pack.  For example, we’ve seen countless corporations toss aside perfectly good PCs, laptops and peripherals simply because something slightly better became available; only to do the exact same thing all over again a few months later.   Now don’t get us wrong; if you’re in an industry that requires continual technology expansions then that’s one thing but for the vast majority of business sectors, it is just wasting money.  If the tech you’re thinking about purchasing does not instantly make your company more productive or more profitable, it is not an absolute necessity.

Backup Absolutely Everything

Last year alone, businesses spent over $400 million dollars replacing data that was lost from their mainframes.  That equates down to just under $1.1 million dollars per day in catastrophic failures where a company could have saved their entire hard drives…they simply chose not to in order to save a couple of bucks per month.  In 2013, backing up your company’s most sensitive data should not be a luxury; it should be standard operating procedures regardless of any other factor.  There are simply too many affordable options available through the cloud to risk even a single email address from being lost.

Hire a Technology Expert

Finally, we’re going to end with the somewhat obvious here and make the recommendation to hire a technology expert to meet your business’s needs.  Now, at this point it may not be a full time individual and he/she may not even work inside your physical location…that’s perfectly fine.  The point here is that someone who keeps track of technology is present to advise you, maintain your existing infrastructure, and to help plan for the future.  If you need any help with that, just give us a call and we’ll be glad to help you prepare.