By Rick Delgado, contributing writer
Every day old technology becomes outdated and new technology enters the business scene. The digital age has allowed individuals more flexibility with schooling, such as gaining online medical transcription certification, and work, creating more positions that need to spend less time tied to an office. As a business owner, it can be difficult to know which technology is worth investing in. This is especially true for small businesses, where resources are limited and mistakes are critical. Investing in the right technology can help businesses stay ahead of their competitors, however, spending too much money on technology that is not living up to its potential can derail a small business. Some of the top technology goals business owners have for 2017 include improving their IT security, managing and using data effectively, and upgrading their current technology. One way to achieve these goals and understand the value a new technology can provide is to calculate its Return On Investment (ROI) by quantifying the cost and expected benefit of that new technology. Here are four ways small business can owners evaluate which new technologies will provide the best ROI for their growing businesses.
Do Your Research
When making a big financial decision regarding technology, the first step business owners should do is to take the time to research new technologies. It’s important to understand exactly what that technology is capable of doing and how much it will cost (not only the initial costs but the expenses of maintenance and training as well). Then business owners must evaluate whether or not their business could actually benefit from integrating that new technology. Too often companies jump on the bandwagon of the newest technology when their company doesn’t actually need what that technology provides. Discussing the capabilities of new technologies with other businesses who already use them is one helpful way for business owners to better understand if their company has a need for that specific technology.
Evaluate the Benefits
When investing in new technology it’s important to understand all the benefits it can provide. One way to know if your investment in new technology is worth it is to consider how it improves these three factors: downtime, productivity, and cost. Downtime, whether for employees, websites, or other business tools, can cause businesses to lose money and decrease the business’s overall efficiency. Technology that can decrease your company’s downtime by helping to keep your servers from crashing or lowering the wait-time for your employees as they perform tasks can be a worthwhile investment. Productivity is really important for small businesses as they try to grow. Investing in technology that will help employees do more work in less amount of time is important for small businesses. A big hurdle for small businesses is having enough resources, specifically capital. Technology that lowers the spending of your small business and works efficiently is also worth investing in.
Consult Your Team
As a business owner or as someone in charge of making decisions about new technology for a business, it is essential that you discuss changes with the employees who will be affected by your implementation of new technology. Before making a purchase, talk with your employees about the needs of their department. Work with them to evaluate your current technology to see what areas it is functioning well in and where it is lacking. Include your employees in your search for newer, updated technology. By involving the individuals who will use and be affected by new technology, you will be able to invest in the technology that’s best for your business and improve the ROI of your new technology.
Take a Test Run
Once you have a new technology in mind for your business, opt in to having a trial run for that technology. This will give you and your employees the opportunity to explore a new technology before making a final purchase. At the end of your trial period, sit down with your employees and evaluate that technology’s benefits and flaws together. Consider to the feedback of your employees before moving forward to purchase that technology. Taking advantage of technology trials will help you to get the most out of the technology you invest in.
Technology is a key component for scaling businesses and staying ahead of competitors. Taking the time to evaluate the ROI of different technologies is essential for any business hoping to grow and stay relevant. By researching new technology, evaluating its benefits, consulting your team members, and doing a trial run when considering implementing new technology, business owners can invest in the right technology that is the best option for their companies.