Source: Jori Hamilton
As a business owner, it’s really difficult to keep up with all the different ways technology can help your endeavors. You take the time to carefully evaluate software options, make a purchase, and get everything installed — and before you know it, the software is outdated and there’s a new “latest-and-greatest.”
It’s enough to make you feel like you shouldn’t even bother: After all, if it isn’t broken, why try to fix it? But that doesn’t work well either, because the software options and improvements do make a difference to your company.
You’re stuck in the middle — what do you do? Here are some ways to keep up with technology without breaking the bank.
What happens if you don’t keep up with technology?
What are the consequences of just letting technology go? After all, a lot of companies get by with old versions of software and older machines. Why bother spending all the money to try to keep up?
The biggest problem with this approach is that when you fall behind you aren’t able to offer the same amenities to customers that your competitors do. Is your website user-friendly? Well-optimized for mobile devices? Full of self-service options?
If you don’t have updated technology, the answer to each question will be no. As a result, you’re more likely to lose customers.
Another problem with lagging behind is it’s harder to retain your top talent. When people aren’t able to work efficiently and effectively, they’re likely to look elsewhere. This is especially true if their suggestions for upgrades and new technology fall on deaf ears.
In order to keep up with your competitors, operate at maximum efficiency, and retain your top talent, you have to stay on top of technology. But how can you do it affordably?
How to keep up with technology cost-effectively
The good news about technology is that you can keep up without breaking the bank, and securing your data is key to remaining compliant with any regulations necessary in your industry. Here are some tips for how to do so across a wide range of software and tech options.
Choose subscription software
One of the biggest benefits of having up-to-date software is that you can keep your data security at a very high level.
In many cases, the best way to maintain the latest version of important software is to get a subscription. Options like Microsoft Office 365 can help you stay updated without having to pay for a whole new suite every year or two.
Subscriptions can be a great way to save money on the upfront costs of upgrading your technology while also giving you an easy way to get updates regularly. If you’re a smaller company, it’s an especially great option.
Get technology that boosts efficiency and saves money
Another way to keep your technology current without breaking the budget is to get technology that makes your operations more efficient. When you can do more with fewer resources, the tech upgrade pays for itself.
Taking this path can be challenging because you often gain the benefits of new software or machinery over time. Making sure you implement everything fully and do a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Finally, stick with the changes over time so you can see the benefits.
Avoid “shiny objects syndrome”
Some business owners aren’t hesitant to purchase because of the cost. Instead, they have the opposite problem. They’re so excited by the possibilities of new equipment that they want to do it all at once.
In order to maximize the benefit of new purchases, each one needs to be fully implemented and operational before a new buy is made. Otherwise, you could spend significantly on new technology only to fail to get the advantages you expect because people can’t adapt to that much change at once.
Take advantage of falling technology prices
While it’s true that tech moves forward in leaps and bounds, another truism is that the price falls—often significantly—over time. Things that used to be extremely expensive and out of reach are not quite affordable.
For instance, video conferencing used to require dedicated equipment and an expensive in-room setup. Not anymore. In fact, as recent events have shown, you can use technology like Zoom to meet with your entire team on laptops and cell phones.
Train employees on new tech regularly
One mistake many businesses make is that they fail to properly train employees on using new software and equipment. As a result, they don’t see the benefits they hoped for. After all, the new efficiencies are only as good as the buy-in you have for new processes.
Don’t just train staff once and expect them to fully retain everything. Instead, have follow-up sessions and consider sharing new best practices as they develop. This will help employees feel supported as they adapt to change.
New technology can benefit business and profits
Don’t fall into the trap of complacency where you allow your software and equipment to age without concern. You’ll miss out on the edge you need to excel in your industry and retain your best staff. At the same time, you don’t need to overspend chasing every new idea.
Instead, choose your technology wisely. Focus on subscriptions that get you regular updates and on options that improve efficiency and allow you to do more with less. When you do, you’ll be able to provide the experience your customers are looking for without breaking the bank.