When you’ve got unexpected expenses around every corner in your business, it’s easy to put updating your technology at the bottom of the list. After all, that computer works, it’s just slow (and 15 years old). Right?
While you may think you’re being smart by not investing in new technology, you might, in fact, be harming your business instead. Ask yourself these questions to find out.
Does my business rely on technology to be competitive?
Whether that technology is a computer to bid on projects or a cutting-edge piece of manufacturing equipment that allows you to create more products faster, if you could do more with better technology, ask yourself if you’re limiting your capabilities by not investing in upgrades.
Could my business save money with an upgrade?
There are some things you wouldn’t even think were outdated, but which could be vastly more efficient – and not to mention cost-effective – with newer technology. Take your mailings. Whether you’re stuffing envelopes manually or driving to the post office every other day to mail your products, these are activities that could be virtually eliminated—and costs reduced—with a mailing system.
Does my outdated technology put my brand reputation at risk?
How do customers perceive your brand with its archaic systems? Let’s use an analogy: you visit the dentist and head straight to reception to book your next appointment, and the receptionist pulls out a big appointment book used to schedule patients. How would your perception change? Nowadays, customers like technology and often subconsciously believe that modern systems lead to improved service. If the reception desk simply uses an old-fashioned book to run the business, what does that say about the dental equipment they may use? If you’re risking your own customers leaving because you don’t see the need to update, proceed with caution.
Could I grow my business faster with better technology?
You may not even be able to imagine what you could do with a little bit of tech investment; so look at others in your space and see how they’re using it. Maybe buying a tablet would allow you to show off your portfolio in client meetings. Or maybe a smartphone would make it easier for you to keep track of your appointments. You really don’t know how newfangled devices and technologies could grow your business until you take the plunge and make the investment.
If all signs point to you needing an upgrade, keep these tips in mind:
- Prioritize your purchases. Not everyone in your office needs a giant touchscreen computer today, so pick the equipment that’s most in need of replacement and move up the list of priority.
- Budget accordingly. If you have money in your business savings account, dole out some for your upgrade, but plan ahead. It may take several months for you to buy everything you need without breaking the bank.
- Look for deals. You can often find refurbished equipment at a fraction of the price. Look for businesses auctioning off equipment, too.
Newer, more efficient technology can help your company succeed faster – so look at the investment as one in the future of your business.
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Andrew Patricio is the founder and CEO of BizLaunch, a company that trains, advises and mentors entrepreneurs. Andrew has written two books on small business, started seven businesses, and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs in Canada get their businesses up and running. Andrew is not a Pitney Bowes employee and was a paid contributor.