When you’re shopping for tech solutions that will integrate into your business, there are some important differences to be aware of between various consumer technologies. Always keep in mind that your business should be able to fully rely on the devices you purchase. Buying inexpensive technology that breaks regularly can have a larger impact on your bottom line than spending a few extra dollars for a better device. When you learn everything about the device, you may find unknown features that can increase your efficiency. In the event that your new gadget needs repairs, you should find out what maintenance plans are available to keep you in business. There’s a slew of accessories for most devices out there, so it helps to know which ones will benefit your business given the scenarios you’ll face. The next time you’re shopping for small business technology, be sure to follow these rules to make the best purchase:
Buy Quality, Not Quantity
One of the first mistakes that small businesses make is trying to buy cheap technology. While spending more doesn’t always guarantee a better product, buying cheap tech can lead to problems, as Hackaday.com highlights. Business scenarios tend to put more wear and tear on devices. Tossing your laptop in a briefcase and dragging it around town in cabs, planes, trains, and buses can take its tole on any computer. All your other tech is similarly worn out by regular use in business environments. However, quality devices are designed to be bumped around more than cheap gadgets. Look for high-quality devices that will keep your business running for a long time.
Learn About Features and Uses
“When asked what role they want to take in adopting newer technologies, only 6% of US executives want to lead; compared to 15% in Europe and 19% in China.” –Accenture, June 2006
Have you ever purchased a new device and found out about a great feature it had after owning it for a year? Part of integrating technology into your business is knowing what your devices are capable of. This way, you can begin to see where the devices fit into your business process. Rather than waiting for other businesses to take the lead with new technologies, it’s important to learn about features and figure out what’s right for you.
These new features could enable your business to reach larger markets, process information more efficiently, or communicate with your customers in newer and more profitable ways. However, you won’t know until you find out what the technology is capable of and begin implementing it in your day-to-day routine.
Ask About Maintenance Plans
As your business begins to rely on a piece of technology, your loss of revenue from down time increases. When you’re shopping for a new technology to integrate into your business, be sure to shop for maintenance plans. This can be anything from regularly scheduled maintenance to service plans for broken or dropped devices, as Houston Chronicle points out. The cost and level of coverage will vary with each device, but you need to know what’s available. Then you can decide whether the cost of the plan outweighs the risk of lost revenue from a damaged device.
Check the Accessories
With a laptop, you need to know how long the battery will last and how heavy it is— particularly if you regularly work out of airports and cabs. This is also true of cellphones, but it’s easier to carry accessories for phones. For example, if you use Quickbooks for payment processing, you can get a free card reader from Intuit to receive payments from anywhere, making your business instantly mobile. In addition, there are cases, portable charging devices, external drives, wireless hotspots, high-gain antennas, smart watches and other solutions you can use to enhance or optimize your device. The Samsung Gear, for example, can be paired with your phone to give you access to messages and calls on your wrist. This is a great accessory for times when it’s inconvenient to wrestle your phone out of your pocket.