These Are the Tech Investments That Pay Off for Small Businesses on a Budget
Part of what makes being a small business owner a challenge is determining which expenses deliver the best return on your investment. Some small business owners think that anything but the most basic tech tools is an extra expense they can’t afford. The truth is that technology is now part of everything we do. This is why there are certain tech investments that are not only worth your dollar, they’re also affordable, help you save money, and are essential if you want your business to grow.
Protect Your Investment
When you think about the types of technology your business needs, your first thought probably goes to everyday operations and increasing profits. However, the most important place to start is with digital security. Having the right protection for your digital files may not be about profit, but it’s an absolute must for preventing a major loss.
According to Business.com, one of the main risks from a data breach is how your business could suffer if your customers’ information was compromised. Let’s face it – we all expect security when we do business online, and customers won’t be forgiving after a data breach. Besides the lost revenue, you could also see damage to your reputation that’s hard to recover from.
Another serious factor is the issue of compliance with data protection laws. If you’re based in the United States, legal requirements for data protection vary across different business sectors. However, the European Union (EU) now has legal requirements through the General Data Protection Regulation, and these standards apply to any business that has customers in EU countries. Among other things, these standards require you to get consent before collecting and analyzing a customer’s information, and they also require you to notify all parties involved in the instance of a data breach. Any business that markets to customers in EU countries could be hit with serious penalties for failing to comply with these standards, regardless of where you’re based.
Expand Your Reach
Along with ensuring your digital information is safe, marketing is another key area where it pays to invest in tech. Most small business owners know they need to be on social media, but it’s how you use digital marketing outlets that make the biggest difference. One way to see an even greater return from social media is to get your name out through influencer marketing. You’ll find plenty of apps that can help you improve your marketing strategy.
Lower Business Expenses
Another smart use of technology is to tap into digital alternatives to traditional business expenses. For example, you can expand your knowledge by enrolling in online training. Logging in is much less expensive than traveling for a conference, and it will eliminate the amount of time needed to attend the training in person.
You can also save on everyday office expenses, whether you’re a one-person startup or have partners you need to communicate with. The Huffington Post recommends several ideas for using tech to reduce expenses, such as ditching a phone system in favor of a voice over internet protocol (VoIP), and going paperless with digital tools like electronic invoicing.
Another way that technology saves you money is through streamlining your operations, and a tool like electronic invoicing is the perfect example. Streamlining translates into greater efficiency, and any small business owner knows that time is money. Some other tech tools that help boost efficiency include project management apps, time tracking, and cloud computing to facilitate collaboration.
The great thing about these tech investments is that there is a lot of overlap, which means a single tool can impact your bottom line in more ways than one. From increasing your brand awareness to providing a safer customer experience, technology is the web that weaves all your business operations together. Not only does it help you achieve best practices, but it ultimately delivers a return on your investment that pays off many times over.
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