As the saying goes, change is the only constant. That’s certainly true of modern technology. This month’s must-have Smartphone might be obsolete by next month. Today’s small business owners have to deal with frequent advances in computers, cell phones and other necessary technology without straining their budgets. A good understanding of technology and how it affects the business environment is essential to keep a company functioning at full capacity.
Keep up to Date on New Technology
While it’s not necessary to become a gadget geek, good small business owners should learn about the latest technology trends and how they can improve your company’s productivity and bottom line. Subscribe to industry trade journals and weekly business magazines. Tech trends involve more than the newest computer or cell phone. Advances in social media, texting, and other forms of electronic communication may impact your company in both positive and negative way. Take the initiative and learn about new products and forms of communication before your competitors do.
Do a Tech Inventory
Office computers, printers, hardware and software can cost a small business more in the long run than purchasing new equipment. Replacement parts for an out of date computer may be hard to find or nonexistent. The small amount of money a business saves by keeping old equipment can be negated by repair costs and lost productivity due to malfunctions. A small business should upgrade computers on a regular basis. Networking capabilities and cell phone plans should also be updated monthly or yearly.
Buy at a Discount
A small business can save money by purchasing used tech equipment. Discount computer stores and online merchants sell quality items without the markup charged by many high-profile office supply stores. A business membership with an office supply store chain may save time, but they have a narrow selection and a small to nonexistent collection of refurbished items. A small business owner can cut costs and still buy cutting-edge technology by finding a well-stocked discount supplier. Companies with older computers can find cheap replacement parts or accessories on eBay or the from online computer sellers. Most large and medium sized cities have independent computer or electronics retailers with used and refurbished items.
Training Employees and Modern Technology
Even the most tech-savvy employee can have trouble grasping a new software program, especially if they felt comfortable with the old version. Before training employees on a new software or computer system, explain the reasons for the implementation. Some people may be resistant to change or feel that it’s unwarranted. Show them the potential benefits, such as fewer keystrokes per entry or increased sales. If you can show employees that the new technology will make their work quicker and easier, training will run smoothly.
Small Business Websites, Blogs and Social Media
A website can make or break a small business it in today’s vast Internet labyrinth. A company’s web presence should impart its mission through design, graphics and text. An entertainment or fashion company can benefit from a Flash intro or colorful graphics. A discount home improvement company might want to avoid any extraneous features and advertise its wares with simple photos and minimal text. Either way, a small business owner has to fully embrace this aspect of modern technology in the planning stage. Hire the best web designer you can. Update the site on a regular basis, using blogs and social media to keep potential customers interested and informed.