Upgrading your business is vital if you want to keep up with customer demands and market competition. However, keeping your technology up to date and on trend may sound a little daunting. There's the budget, learning curve and more to consider.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep your business technology updated without having to jump through major hoops or spending a fortune. A lot of new technology is readily available if you know where to look. There's a lot of inexpensive hardware available and endless software alternatives.
Here’s technology to explore that can help you run a smooth operation.
Maybe you're not a big-name executive, but you shouldn't have to do without an assistant. With modern technology, everyone can have an assistant — and yours may be no further away than your pocket.
More smartphones are coming out with assistant features to help everyday small business owners and busy people in general. Programs like Apple's Siri are free and already installed on many phones. You can also set reminders and adjust the schedule for yourself with a few clicks or by dictating to your phone.
If you're using computers in the workplace, hopefully you're aware that they're vulnerable to hackers and attacks. Almost every computer comes with pre-downloaded antivirus software, but the most basic antivirus isn't going to stop a real malware program. If you're keeping important data or personal information on your computers, you need an excellent antivirus defense.
Thankfully, a good antivirus doesn't have to cost a lot. There are plenty of programs out there to download free or to use during a timed trial period, which makes prices low and in some cases non-existent. Antivirus software can't be looked over, especially for work computers, so do a little shopping and get the best one for your business.
Visit the SmartBiz Small Business Blog for additional information: 8 Ways to Keep Your Online Business Assets Secure. You’ll learn best practices for running a secure operation.
Open-source software refers to collaborative alternatives to mainstream commercial applications, and they're used all the time in business settings. Many open-source applications are free or cost a fraction of the amount you would have paid while purchasing the mainstream equivalent.
OpenOffice is an open-source office suite very similar to Microsoft Office. OpenOffice comes with word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics and more. The best part is that OpenOffice is free and doesn't carry a very high price tag like Microsoft Office. Plus, all of the files can be saved in the same formats.
Entering the New Age
The real trick in the modern day is not getting left behind. Engineers and developers are always coming out with something new and never seen before. A business, no matter how small, needs to keep up with modern technology. The competition will have everything to gain from frustrated customers and employees alike because of outdated, slow technology. If you see something costly, don't buy until you shop around first.
Do you need expensive upgrades that aren’t in your budget or could negatively affect your cash flow? Consider taking out a low-cost loan to finance tech purchases. Proceeds from an SBA loan can be used for equipment purchases along with working capital, debt refinance, hiring and more. Visit the SmartBiz Loans website to learn more about financing an equipment purchase.