As we move forward into the digital era, consumer behavior is adapting and causing a shift across various industries. To keep up with the demands, more and more businesses are recognizing technology as an essential instrument in organizational growth. But while technology has a myriad of benefits for companies both big and small, not all investments are able to deliver. The type of tech to invest in depends on various factors, such as the industry, size, budget, and goals. As business owners, it is crucial to understand how to spend smart and buy into equipment that can contribute positively to your performance and objectives.
So how do you decide on the right tools to invest in for your business, without causing a sizeable dent in your company coffers? As managers, owners, or anyone curious about the impact of tech on businesses, we have listed some important considerations to take note of before investing.
What type of business are you?
Different businesses have different needs. Are you a health clinic with tons of patient records in need of organizing? An agency in need of a mobile device strategy for employees? Or a sales executive looking for ways to track leads? Once you are able to clearly define the nature of your business and the industry, it’s easier to see how technology can play into the landscape.
What benefits can your business get from technology?
All in all, taking care of businesses can be a tightrope walk, but the appropriate tools can help you balance everything more smoothly. In case you still needed a little convincing, have a look at the multitude of ways that technology can enhance your company.
- Speeds up and streamlines operations – In the economics of business, time is the most valuable currency. The right technology should help you get tasks done more quickly and effectively, allowing you to increase cash flow and revenue.
- Lessens chances of mistakes – Efficiency is key in the workplace, and tech can help reduce human error that manual labor brings about. You should be able to accommodate more work, given the smooth process and lack of delays. Other mistakes that can be avoided are lapses in security, which Higher State Technology previously warned is actually more common than you think.
- Helps innovate your business – Technology helps you find new and better ways of doing things, and gives you an edge in the competitive market. Innovation also ensures that your business is on par with the current trends and upgrades.
- Reduces overhead expenses – While tech requires an investment in itself, it can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. In some cases, tech can even take responsibility for tasks that would normally require having to pay for another hire.
- Drives sales – Sales departments that aren’t restricted by routine and time-consuming tasks have higher chances of exceeding revenue goals. Having a streamlined sales process also improves conversion rates.
- Easier employee management – As your number of employees increases, it becomes harder to control your team. However, hands-on management doesn’t have to be the solution when leaders make use of applications that are designed to aid supervision.
What are your goals?
What aspect of your business would you like to improve on? This question can be daunting to think about, but narrowing down a specific area to touch on eliminates the chances of making wrong investments. If you’re unsure of where to start, make an audit of all the different components of your business’ day-to-day operations.
Maryville University notes how the wide umbrella of business management encompasses several key areas. These include managing human resources, accounting for business transactions, marketing your product or service, and ensuring the cybersecurity of your business, on top of general management. To be able to understand your goals, take a look at which parts of your operation may need improvement through IT investments. Below are some examples.
- I want to cut costs – Technology can help save money both in the short and long term — whether it means investing in virtual assistance that can substitute another employee or a bookkeeping software to show you where your money goes.
- I want to make my business stand out more – There are countless developments and opportunities every day that can help companies stay competitive. Study the trends in your industry and see what others lack that you can build on using new advancements. Are you a transport service seeing a gap in the market for safer options? How can you leverage security using tech?
- I want my business to be more efficient – Let’s not forget the base purpose of tech: to make our day-to-day tasks easier. Ultimately, that means wasting as little time as possible on things that can be controlled by someone or something else, like a machine. Small businesses, for example, can earn back countless hours spent computing taxes and fixing invoices.
- I want to lead and take care of my team better – Effective employees make a well-oiled machine. While it’s ideal to take care of employee relations personally, there are tools that can elevate your team’s quality of work life — whether it’s to ease communication or to determine their needs better than the naked eye can.
What are your options?
Now that you know what you are looking for to help your business, it’s time to explore the available tools on the market. These are some of the highly recommended investments for businesses today.
- Automation software – Especially useful for marketers, PC Mag recommends investing in software that will take care of labor-intensive manual work. Some of the tasks it can cover include email marketing campaign management, lead scoring, website analytics, and content scheduling.
- POS system – For retailers, keeping track of sales and inventory is one of the most taxing parts of running a store. Retail Minded notes that it is particularly important for brick and mortar models starting to lag behind the fast-growing world of e-commerce. An advanced cash register system can help physical stores stay on the ever-changing cutting edge of technology.
- Cybersecurity solutions – For all its benefits, technology has its faults, too. Businesses running on automated systems or with backed data online make way for hackers and cyber threats. In-store security must not also be neglected. As such, Bluetooth cameras, which are accessible from your phone, become useful tools.
- Communication platforms – More isn’t always more. In that case, an overflowing inbox doesn’t always indicate more productivity. Communication apps let you create strategies that allow your team to stay aligned, no matter what time and place. This means doctors can oversee operations and check in on patients from other continents, and freelancers can accommodate clients from across the globe.
Feature exclusively written for higher-state.com by Alicia Harris
About Higher State Technology (HST) Since 2004, specialists at Austin-based Higher State Technology (HST) have provided implementation, troubleshooting, hardware, software and managed services solutions for multi-location companies and for solopreneurs. HST helps companies safeguard their IT assets through network protection, backups and disaster recovery, antimalware and anti-spam protection, and other risk management services. HST offers remote and onsite IT support and management tailored to the needs of each client. For more information, visit www.Higher-State.com.