Tech investments upgrades top the list of small Business budgeting priorities, but despite the appeal, affording new technology isn’t easy. That’s especially true for small Businesses with under $5 million in annual revenue. With the exception of financial software, these small businesses are less likely to spend in every category of tech.
While saving money is a worthy goal, business owners who neglect to adopt certain technologies do their brand a disservice. Companies that don’t invest in the right tech risk falling behind competitors and even damaging their reputation, particularly when it comes to these must-have business technologies.
Web development: Building trust and generating leads
When customers view a website, they do more than look for information. They use visual cues to determine how trustworthy a business is. A website that’s well-designed and user-friendly is more likely to generate trust — and in turn, leads — than a website with outdated design, stock images, and broken links.
Many small business owners worry about the ongoing costs of a professionally built website. High fees can be avoided by using a platform that makes it easy to maintain a website once it’s built. In fact, this is one of the reasons WordPress is such a popular website platform.
Since WordPress is based on PHP, businesses using WordPress should hire the best PHP developers to build a powerful, full-featured, and user-friendly website through back-end development. With the best team working on your website, you’ll be able to make necessary updates to the website without the need to hire additional help. Hiring developers can be confusing for managers outside the tech sector, but by explaining the scope of the work and setting a competitive pay rate (most PHP developers charge $20-$125 per hour), any business can find qualified help.
I encourage small businesses with capital not large enough to start making websites with WordPress – It is the best tech investment for online businesses that conform to Google’s SEO standards.
Digital marketing: Helping shoppers discover your business
A professionally built website is only one aspect of a business’s digital marketing needs. Since nearly every purchase starts online, even if shoppers plan to buy offline, businesses need a comprehensive digital marketing plan that ensures their business is findable no matter where shoppers start their search.
In addition to establishing a presence on Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook, three of the top review sites, businesses should invest in apps for managing social media, email marketing, and blog content, as well as analytics tools for measuring the success of digital marketing efforts.
Order fulfillment: Improving service and adding revenue
Order fulfillment is a major challenge for small businesses. Customers expect fast and cheap shipping, but many small businesses lack the resources to fulfill orders both quickly and inexpensively. Rather than trying to manage order fulfillment in-house, many business owners find they spend less and get better results by outsourcing and adopting inventory management technology to streamline the fulfillment process.
For businesses outside the retail sector, outsourcing order fulfillment can be a smart way to add a revenue stream without complicating operations. Dropshipping, a fulfillment option in which products are shipped directly from manufacturer to consumer, can be used to add an income stream by selling unique items like apparel, gifts, or greeting cards without the need to hire staff or store physical inventory.
Cybersecurity: Protecting your business from catastrophic loss
Data breaches come with extremely high costs, and for many small businesses, a single breach is enough to cause bankruptcy. Data breaches aren’t uncommon either, with 61% of all cyber attacks targeting small businesses.
With such high risk, small businesses can’t afford to invest in cybersecurity technology. In addition to basic network security infrastructures like antivirus software, firewalls, and automated data backups, small businesses should invest in password managers, two-factor authentication, and end-to-end encryption for email and credit card transactions.
Small businesses don’t need to adopt every cutting-edge technology in order to serve their customers. However, some tech upgrades are necessary if businesses want to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. If your small business is operating without this must-have technology, make room in your budget so you can protect your business today and into the future.
According to author Gloria Martinez (Womenled.org)
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