If your small business is to survive its infancy, the biggest favor you can do yourself is to plan ahead. Just as planning pertains to your financing and business model, making the right technology investments will help ensure that you’re in a good position to scale your operations. By opting for solutions that both fit the current need and will allow you to grow, you can help future-proof your business and avoid the potholes that befall many small businesses who hit a bottleneck.
Weigh Your Needs
In planning your technological road map, consider that the right investment isn’t necessarily the one that will allow for world domination at an “Enterprise” scale, but one that will allow for efficient cash outlay as you track along. While your business may eventually grow into them, tools that are too “big” for your immediate needs may be not only unnecessary or expensive, but also actually hinder productivity by overshadowing core functionality.
When investing in software or cloud-based services, it’s common for the buyer to have the option of a multi-tiered system in which the number of users or features vary. In these instances, it’s virtually always possible to upgrade to the higher tier when the time comes, rather than bite off too much too soon. Similarly, with hardware, if your required capabilities will increase, it might make sense to buy one “generation” ahead and leapfrog the next anticipated need rather than shoot straight to the top to avoid unnecessary expenditures that won’t pay off soon enough. Sacrificing liquidity or risking obsolescence can be every bit as damaging as failing to embrace a growth opportunity.
Uniformity in Hardware
As your operation begins to scale out and grow in headcount, you’ll likely begin to consider the technological needs of each team member. When considering the devices they’ll need, the greatest degree of possible uniformity can be a lifesaver.
Not only will it potentially save money by allowing you to buy PCs in bulk, but the additional comfort of not having to ensure compatibility across multiple systems can be a huge boost to productivity since it streamlines the path of day-to-day actions, makes training easier, and limits the potential interference with typical activities.
As access to data on visitor and customer behavior continues to increase, we gain further insight into the needs and wants of our audience. Leveraging tools like CRMs and marketing automation helps gather insight on your leads, and customers can help identify trends and patterns as they emerge, staying ahead of the curve.
While these investments may seem daunting if you have never used them before, it’s easy to start small and get more comfortable with the additional layers of complexity. For just one example — if you’re able to uncover that a certain form of messaging is most likely to yield a response in an A/B test of one-page copy, you can learn more about what your audience cares most about, and be better positioned to serve it up to them.
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