“Investing” doesn’t feel like something you can do much of when you are just starting out. Most small businesses operate on a shoestring budget, at least at first, so investments can often feel like a luxury. However, there are countless tools out there designed to make running a small business easier, and it would be foolish to not take advantage of them.
So, how do you figure out what tech is worth your money, what can be put off for a while, and what you can go without altogether? And how do you fund such investments when you are not yet making a profit? In this guide, we will aim to answer some of these questions.
Useful Tech for Small Businesses
Nowadays, there is software for pretty much anything you can imagine, not to mention an army of freelance coders available to make your every tech desire come true. While small businesses don’t have the budgets of their larger counterparts, many of these services are available for a low cost, with offerings specifically designed for SMEs.
A few worthwhile investments include:
- Web Design – Custom web design allows your website to look perfect while running smoothly. A good idea is to hire a coder to set up your website’s back-end so you can then make changes yourself. For example, a PHP developer can build a great website on a platform like WordPress while making sure the back-end interface is user-friendly for you. In order to hire the best PHP developers, Upwork recommends that they should also be familiar with project management tools and test suites. A freelancer can cost as little as $20 per hour, although you can pay more for more experienced or well-rounded pros.
- Accounting Software – You didn’t start a business to become an accountant, but you do need to keep track of your finances. However, you can easily skip all the tedious tracking, reporting, and filing by investing in accounting software like Intuit Quickbooks, whose simplest package costs just $10 per month.
- Customer Relationship Management – A CRM tool helps streamline sales by organizing your customer data and offering valuable insights. Insightly is one of the most affordable options on the market, with prices starting at $29 per month.
- Customer Support – Investing in digital customer support is a smart move, especially for e-commerce businesses. Customers will be happier, you will save time, and you will get valuable insight. Freshdesk is a great affordable option for many small businesses, with their free service being a great place to start.
Choosing Your Tools
A small business on a limited budget may not be able to afford all of the services listed above at once. However, almost every digital tool on the market has either a trial period or a free service with limited options. Just remember to stagger these so you have time to explore each tool — once the free trial is gone, it’s gone.
Also, remember that there are also a lot of free tools available on the market you can use to make your life easier. A few examples of useful services that are either free or whose free package has most of what you would need include:
- Password management with LastPass, which protects your passwords securely and reduces the risk of cyberattacks.
- Social media automation with IFTTT, which allows you to seamlessly link up various social media and digital channels.
- Effective project management with Trello, which helps boost team productivity.
Funding for Small Businesses
If you do decide to spend some money on valuable tech, remember that this doesn’t necessarily have to eat into your existing budget. There are plenty of funding opportunities out there for small businesses, such as SBA loans, short-term loans, business lines of credit, and merchant cash advancements. Online guides can help you make sense of it all and find the funding that will help you take your business to the next level.
To some extent, you do have to spend money to make money. Small investments in tech can have a huge knock-on effect on profit and productivity, so it’s worth exploring all the options. You never know how much of a boost you could give your business with a little bit of extra cash.