Small Business Technologies That Pay for Themselves


​Photo courtesy of Burst
 
As any entrepreneur could tell you, the business world moves quickly. In a fast-paced, tech-driven world, investing in the right technology can set your company up for success. Some small business owners worry that the latest tech will be too expensive. However, that’s not always the case. Some technologies are well worth the cost when you consider the end result, and others are mandatory investments to keep your business safe and legal.
 
Here are some tech investments that could save your business time, effort, and money in the long run:
 
Data Loss Prevention
 
Data breach costs are on the rise. IBM reports that businesses are losing millions each year in recovery costs due to malicious attacks, human errors, and software glitches. That’s why local and global laws now require businesses to restrict access to certain information.

To stay ethical and legal, protect sensitive or confidential information from falling into the wrong hands. Invest in software that includes data protection to prevent hackers, “rogue” employees, competitors, or other unauthorized individuals from illegally accessing sensitive data.
 
For instance, Digital Guardian recommends an Office 365 subscription, which includes customized data loss prevention. The beauty of this feature is you can set the security rules yourself, so that sensitive data is going to the right employees. Your business is legally obligated to protect customer data and intellectual property, so if you’re in investing in a subscription like Office 365, the DLP tool can be a worthwhile investment.
 
An Appealing Website
 
To attract clients and prospects, you’ll want a beautiful site. According to SmallBusiness.com, 71% of small businesses in the U.S. have a website. Nearly 80% of those sites automatically resize to fit a mobile screen, such as a smartphone or tablet.
 
Don’t have the budget for a professionally-designed website? You might build a site yourself using a free tool like WordPress, which powers more than 30% of all websites. If you need an eCommerce site, there are many platforms to choose from. You can use WooCommerce if you already have a website through WordPress, or opt for Wix if you want to include a blog with your store.

Automation
 
Entrepreneur.com recommends saving time and money by using modern technology to automate your workflow. Start by defining repetitive or tedious tasks that could potentially be automated. Next, search for automation software, or hire a professional programmer to create a customized tool to handle the task for you. Automation helps your business grow by freeing up your time to focus on more important considerations like sales, customers, and business growth.

For detailed insights, increased efficiency, and possible savings, you should consider investing in software that includes machine learning. A type of artificial intelligence, machine learning helps software learn about your customers, your market, and even your risk management. For instance, machine learning can reduce energy usage, improve supply chain management, or reduce fraud risks.
 
Business Technology Strategies
 
In today’s post-recession economy, more people are running small businesses—in fact, about 30 million are operating around the country. Other statistics show that technology strategies differ among small businesses; for example, half of them use two software platforms at the most for digital marketing. The one thing they all have in common is that, as business owners, they undoubtedly want their companies to succeed.

To set yourself up for success, it’s crucial to be strategic when choosing technological solutions for your business. Just like any other investment, you’ll need to carefully evaluate each solution. Make a list of your options, then compare features and price ranges that fit your budget and goals. Remember, you don’t always need state-of-the-art hardware or software. Many businesses get distracted by the latest flashy tech and forget crucial investments. Focus on staying up-to-date, legal, and secure to save money and improve your bottom line.

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