It’s important to be cautious and make prudent decisions when adopting new technology for company use. The budgetary investment should be balanced against the technology’s long-term value as well as improvement over existing systems, using methods like the following.
Operate a lean business
Before upgrading the technology aspects of your company, review the budget to ensure you are running the company on the lean business model. This will help to ensure that extraneous expenses are curbed or have been eliminated, freeing up funds for new technology purchases. Look for ways to keep operations trim and light so that technology updates won’t strain the budget and cause shortfalls in other parts of the business. If taking out a business loan is still required in order to successfully upgrade technology, the aforementioned practices will give LendingClub.com and other popular lenders a better incentive to approve your application. Furthermore, look for new ways to increase savings, such as recycling or energy-saving equipment, that can render funds to be applied to technology investments. This shows lending institutions you plan on using the borrowed funds wisely.
Conduct a comprehensive evaluation
Have a company employee or a paid consultant evaluate the effectiveness of current technological processes within the company, as well as to identify potential gaps or opportunities to enhance speed and accuracy. Develop a long-range plan for adopting new technology that will produce speedy results or that can be reasonably expected to grow over the next few years. Avoid purchasing technical programs or equipment that appears to be useful if they will not directly begin to enhance company operations. Additionally, wait for the latest technology trends to settle into the market before deciding if it lives up to the hype. Review a two- or three-year company plan to determine the role that technology will play in growth and expansion.
Take it slow
Never invest more than you can afford to lose. The company budget should be balanced to cover all facets of operations, and technology is just one element, albeit an important one. Start by investing in low-priced apps or systems. For example, adding new features to the website, which can be reasonably priced when the work is done by a college student or local expert, may attract more visitors that lead to sales. Taking the company print newsletter online in digital format can actually save money in printing costs like ink and paper. Social media accounts are free and easy to utilize as long as someone in the company can post and respond quickly and consistently as part of the marketing effort.
Keep tabs on newly acquired technology to see if it performs as expected. For example, if you subscribe to a digital database with a monthly fee, be sure that an employee can be assigned to use the database for finding needed information. If the database goes unused, the subscription will be wasted and should be canceled. In building a customer base, check social media followers and posts to see if numbers are increasing. If not, employees assigned to the social media marketing task may need to be given different work that will advance company interests more directly. Implement technology that can be canceled, returned, or eliminated if it does not work out to avoid useless budgetary expenditures.
Tech upgrades for business are increasingly common and especially useful in the digital age of commerce. However, it is important to run a lean organization that will enable budget funding to be applied toward technological enhancements that can effectively improve company operations over current systems that are now in place.