Maybe you’re thinking about starting a business. And, if you’re like most small business operators, cash isn’t something you have an unlimited supply of. It’s time to cut some financial calories from your budget. Is it okay to skimp on your IT?Yes…but also, no.Yes, you can save some money on your IT budget. You may want a MacBook and an iPad, but a cheaper laptop and tablet will do perfectly well until you have some discretionary spending power.
So in that sense, sure, save money on your IT costs by buying mid-grade, budget-friendly equipment. But there are some items that you really should be willing to spend on.
Five Technology Essentials for the Small Business
Aside from the no-brainers—computers, printers, basic office equipment—here are five things no small business should be without:
Accounting software. We’re talking about the real thing, not just a spreadsheet program. Good accounting software can really take a load off when it comes to routine, tedious tasks like managing invoices and recording transactions. Not only does accounting software keep track of your sales, it can also help you create reports that show your growth, profitability, and general business trends.
Internet Access. Even if your business is firmly location-based, such as a hair salon or a restaurant, you need onsite Internet access. This will simplify interactions with clients and suppliers, plus it will let you easily keep tabs on your online presence.
Security Software. Your tax info. Your customer’s home address. Sensitive financial data. All things you don’t want to let hackers have a peep at. This is not the time to save money on a freebie program. Invest in a proper security suite with real-time anti-malware scanning, a top-of-the-line firewall, and preferably, an online backup system. (This isn’t as expensive as it sounds; Norton offers a 10-license small business package for about $250; a single license will only set you back about $90 per year.)
A Productivity Suite. We’ve written extensively about Google Apps, Microsoft Office, and other suites in this blog. You need them. You probably already have one. Using an office program with a sync-able calendar function, like Google Calendar or MS Outlook, is an even better idea if you’re trying to organize multiple schedules.
IT Services. This can be a clever employee, a friend, or a managed IT service provider like Techsperts. Just make sure you have a plan in case something goes wrong with your business-critical technology. In fact, you might want to put that number on speed dial.
Can you save on your IT needs? Absolutely. But don’t make the mistake of cutting out important elements like the ones listed above.