In 2014, Aussie SMEs spent on average $4,300 on software* (that’s a lot of coffee). In an ever-growing society of tech-savvy humans (like you and I), the businesses that implement and embrace technology succeed in generating increased revenue, productivity, exposure and have an overall advantage to their competition who are stuck in the '80s.
Deciding what to use, what to purchase and when can be quite daunting when you’re an SME (and potentially expensive if you don’t make the right choice). If you’re an SME looking to dive into the melting pot of technology, put your flippers on and have a read of the following before you make a lucky dip purchase that could ultimately cost you both in time and money.
Do your research
Have a proper search of all the options available, speak to people and don’t be afraid to enquire about products that you’re looking into. Take your time with your search, to ensure you don’t miss anything. If any providers offer a free trial, take full advantage of it, as sometimes you don’t know what a product is really like until you use it.
Consider all cost factors
When looking for technology, think of all the costs associated with it. Are there costs such as setup, installation, training and support? Do they have monthly plans or is it all upfront? Are you paying for features you simply will not use? And if you choose not to invest, how will that cost your business in the long run? Will it hinder your success and potential growth?
Desktop vs laptop/tablet
Which is better for your business? And where will you be working? If you have a job that’s office-based, you may like a desktop computer. However, with more and more businesses becoming mobile, a laptop might be better for flexibility. Tablets are also becoming important in business, offering a lightweight, easy-to-use option that's great for on-the-go business.
Installed vs online software
There is an increase in the amount of software you can access online rather than traditional installed software. The benefits of an online program are plenty, with no costs for installation on multiple workstations, no time wasting software updates and access issues if you have it installed on your work desktop but need to access it when away from your desk. Depending on the online software provider, you can pay month to month, have unlimited users and log in to access your work wherever you have an internet connection.
It pays to do your research before buying products with all the bells, whistles, steak knives and kitchen sink that your business may not use.
* Sensis eBusiness report 2014
Emma Shean is part of the PropertyMe team, a new online trust accounting app for property managers. After completing her communications degree, Emma worked across many large consumer and real estate companies before heading off to London to work with the Federation of Master Builders. Since returning to the sunny shores of Sydney, Emma has found her place in the exciting start-up culture of PropertyMe, where simplicity and the latest technology are vital to ensure the ease of managing a trust account, suppliers, tenants and owners within the app.