When running a growing business, it is easy to get ‘left behind’ when it comes to the latest technological breakthroughs that can support your business.
Often owners know that the latest technology will support business growth, but simply do not have the time to learn and implement new technology or cannot justify the spend, getting stuck in old ways. Alternatively, owners take an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach that can often see themselves fall behind their competitors.
So, understanding the need to update technology, you may be asking what is the best way to go about doing this? FJP Investment shares some important tips that should make the process of updating as easy as possible, without breaking the bank.
Have a software purge
Before committing to new software, have a look at your current software and other technology your company pays for. Are you benefiting from its use?
Many end up paying for subscription software that they never use, or only on occasion when a cheaper alternative will suffice. If you have employees, ask them their views on current software and what does and does not work for them.
By canceling software packages, or simply uninstalling software you don’t use, you now are left with what you need and use. From here, you can find updated software that fills the same role and more.
Consider subscription packages
Whilst subscription software is not always the best choice financially in the long term. It is an excellent way of ensuring you remain up to date on the latest offerings.
A basic example here is a Microsoft 365 package. Although the core package remains mostly the same, after a few years, you may find the software does not run as effectively and may be missing the new features many other businesses have adopted. Paying for the subscription keeps your software updated annually.
The other benefit for small businesses is the reduced payment needed upfront. Whilst you may end up paying more in the long term, the option to have a small monthly amount expended means you do not need to find the total cost upfront. When combined with other software, this can allow you to implement more software and thus improve efficiency from the offset.
Focus on efficiency
The primary goal of any software is to make work easier for you and your team. Just because a competitor is using a piece of software does not mean you need to also.
By using technology that allows you to have fewer physical resources, the cost of the technology pays for itself. Take a critical look at how your company operates and review any areas you feel could benefit from being automated with technology.
To survive in the current climate, you need to be using technology to maximize efficiency and cut costs.
Be critical of new technology
Whilst the narrative is usually business owners avoid buying software for the upfront cost, some fall into the trap of buying software because they are over-excited by the possibilities of what the new software can provide.
Before purchasing any software package, make sure that any existing software has been properly implemented, and your team is comfortable using it. Do not overwhelm your team, and yourself, with new technology. Take it one step at a time, and you may find in a couple of months that the software will not benefit you as much as you thought at the time.
Train your staff, and yourself
Touching on the previous point, allow your staff time to learn any new software you introduce – do not expect them to master it overnight.
Often bringing in an external training individual or team from the software company itself is the best way to iron out any teething issues. You will only gain increased efficiency if you and the team are using the software correctly and to its full potential. Consider consolidation and follow up sessions to ensure the training is retained.
Technology is more affordable
A closing, but important point to make for those that have not brought in any new technology for a long period is that prices have fallen.
With so much competition, combined with significant technological advancements, the same software now is far cheaper than it was a decade ago, and very likely does far more than it once could. A good example here and something most are familiar with is video calling.
Most providers are now free, with affordable upgrades to those using multiple accounts within the business. With common software being Zoom and Microsoft Teams, almost all your customers and competitors will be familiar with the software and represents fantastic value to implement.
With remote working within your team very likely to have increased, it keeps your team connected cost-effectively in the current climate.
Following the above advice should help give you an idea of the benefits of introducing new, up to date software. Doing so does not have to take you long, has the potential to increase company efficiency, and is now very cost-effective, with monthly payments and overall lower prices.
Do not succumb to complacency; otherwise, you will soon discover that you have lost any competitive advantage over your competition. The current economic environment is challenging to all, and you should give yourself every opportunity of succeeding by using current software and other technologies.