By Eric Dahl of Brother International
You’ve started your own business – congratulations! Get ready for one roller coaster of a ride. As you can already imagine, there will be ups and downs along your path to success – but you aren’t alone. Take advice when it’s offered, especially if it’s on something you know very little about.
(Photo courtesy of Eric Dahl)
Once your idea has been conceptualized, once you’ve locked in your funding, once you’ve hired your employees and you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, you need to stop and think: What kind of office environment do I need to create to boost as much productivity as possible? What kind of technology do I need to buy and implement to make my business and my employees successful? As many entrepreneurs have already learned firsthand, deploying the right technology for a small office environment is crucial to maintaining productivity and even more importantly, keeping costs down.
According to the 2015 Brother Small Business Survey, if given an increase in revenue by 5 percent, 41 percent of responding small business owners and entrepreneurs said they would be most likely to invest that additional money in technology – technology that helps delegate responsibilities across the company and ensure that these tasks are appropriately organized is important. For many, technology is uncharted territory, so taking advice from organizations and companies that focus on helping entrepreneurs is imperative. Here are three tips that will entrepreneurs make better tech investments.
1. Bigger (price tags) isn’t always better
Bigger brand names don’t always offer the best quality – and many brands offer products with even bigger price tags than their competitors. Look for brands that understand the needs of a small business owner – finding technology that won’t break the bank. Keeping costs down and productivity high is one mantra entrepreneurs across the board can attest to.
Also worth mentioning is looking into technology with low maintenance and upkeep costs. Did you happen to catch a flashy commercial on television of a major tech provider advertising the latest and greatest enhancements to a popular device? Before you run out to your closest major retailer, think about whether or not your business actually needs that flashy and expensive piece of equipment.
2. Realistically assess your office
First and foremost – how many employees have you hired? Will most of your employees be working in the actual office? Or do you expect many will be working remotely and will need mobile devices that help them stay connected on-the-go? Also worth mentioning is the need to think ahead. Should you be investing in technology that will make it easy to upgrade/downgrade as your employee count fluctuates? It’s not uncommon to get carried away when stocking up your office with equipment, but be sure that you’re buying only what you really need vs. what you think you want.
3. Invest in tech that helps you stay organized
Look into multi-function technology – equipment with all-in-one offerings. These offerings are bundled together for a reason, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of it. At the same time, these bundled offerings are perfect for helping you and your employees stay organized. Is your business extremely paper-heavy? Looking to move to more a digital environment? Find the technology you need to make sure that transition is smooth and doesn’t interrupt productivity and already organized workflow.
Do your homework, ask your friends, peers, former colleagues – what types of office equipment are they consistently relying on? Once you collect the advice of others, put it to the actual test. Will their recommendations make sure for your business? Learning what type of technology works best for your office early on is a great way to save time and money.
It’s important for entrepreneurs to understand that all businesses face technology issues. It’s difficult to assess your needs and put aside your wants, but at the end of the day, it’s all about your business. Find the right tech that saves you time and money without testing your patience.
Eric Dahl is the Director of Marketing for Inkjet and SOHO Laser Products at Brother International. He has been with Brother International for ten-plus years, and has worked with a variety of retailers, from SOHOs/SMBs to national brands. 2014 saw Eric help launch the successful “Kickstart your Business” advertising campaign with action star Billy Blanks.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.