As a small business with three or four employees, choosing technology for your office is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, your operational budget is likely to be one of the most important considerations, meaning you can’t spend more than you need on software and devices. But because you have so few employees, technology is essential for meeting operational needs. You thus can’t afford to forego devices or programs that will help you do business. The following guide will help you balance these competing constraints, purchasing exactly what you need to build and maintain a productive company.
Taking Care of Basic Technology
While individual needs vary from office to office, virtually every business needs certain basic technologies to function, including:
Computers– Any employee who has to communicate with customers or other departments, post or edit marketing materials, or conduct research should have a computer to do this on. Make sure the computer is reasonably recent, has at least 2 gigahertz of processing power, and can store at least 80 gigabytes of data.
Networks– Every business must have an Internet connection that is fast and strong enough for you to access all online information and services you need. You may also want to set up a private network for your company, especially if you have to share sensitive data regularly.
Data Security– Never cut corners on security. Invest in the latest anti-malware programs, firewalls, authentication measures, and other resources to protect your data and operations from digital attacks.
A Website– No company can survive in the modern market without a central website. Make sure that any information someone would reasonably want about your company is on the site and easy to find. If you offer online orders, customers should be able to place them through the site.
No matter what your company does, these technologies are essential. Only once you’ve secured them can you move on to:
Your tech budget is best spent on resources that save you money or time in other areas. Depending on your specific business needs, this may include:
Options for Automation– If your business has to assemble, package, label, or otherwise process your products, automated equipment will allow you to do this without hiring more employees. Likewise, if you have to answer customer questions regularly, you can use chatbots to cut down on the number of those questions your staff has to take. Any money you invest in these technologies will likely come back to you through lower costs.
Cloud Services– Companies with small workforces lack the time, expertise, and personnel to manage large amounts of hardware. Thus if your staff uses complex digital applications, you may want to get them through the cloud.
Collaboration Tools– Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other tools make it easy for you and your employees to share complex information and coordinate your activities. The more important coordination and information sharing are to your company, the more you can benefit from such technologies.
Running a small business comes with several costs including the technology you need to function each day. By choosing the best options for your business, you can meet all your business needs while still managing your budget.