That’s a question I get asked a lot. There are so many new technologies available today that it’s hard to know which will be the best fit for your business. No one wants to invest in a type of technology that ultimately doesn’t work out. I did that once with an early version of the smart phone. Just thought I had to have that phone so I didn’t take time to research it. Turns out, I hated it. After a few short months and lots of frustration, the phone was history.
Here are a few things you should consider when purchasing new technology for your business.
1. Will you use it? Technology is only good if you use it. For purposes of example, I’ll tell what happened to “Nameless” company. The owner invested in a technology tool to use for sales reporting and tracking. The cost of purchasing the program was significant and on top of that there were monthly administration fees. One sales person embraced the new system, but the other one didn’t. Therefore, the technology had no value. After two years, the owner cancelled the contract.
2. Does it integrate well with existing technology? Before you make any technology decisions, make sure it will integrate easily with what you already have. A forced or cumbersome fit is doomed to fail. Technology should be leveraged to enhance productivity and profitability. A bad fit can defeat the purpose.
3. Can it grow as your business grows? Whatever technology you buy should be able to grow with the business. In other words, make sure the technology can support additional use so there won’t be a need to discard it when your business grows beyond its current level.
4. Is there adequate support available? When you purchase new technology make sure the company provides adequate support. Find out if there is a customer service center in your area or online for questions and/or training. You also need to know what to do if the technology needs servicing. There are a lot of “great deals” available, but if there’s no support after the sale, then your great deal could be a big dud.
5. Warranties, refunds and exchanges. Before you purchase any type of technology, ask about product warranties as well as refund or exchange policies.
These are a few helpful considerations. If you are a dinosaur of sorts when it comes to technology, I’d recommend hiring an independent consultant who can assess your needs and help you make smart choices for your business. Also, check out SBTV.com’s technology program for entrepreneurs: Tech Tactics.