Many small business owners shy away from investing in modern technological solutions. Price is often the most prominent issue as many top tech solutions are rarely designed for those with more limited budgets.
The second issue is usually just a lack of trained staff. You need an experienced IT department if you want to implement new technology in the workplace, and this is easier said than done.
With this in mind, you can still use some of the best tech trends without putting a dent in your budget. Take a look at some of the smartest and most affordable tech investments you should make as an SMB.
Invest in Collaboration Tools
Collaboration tools are becoming increasingly more important for an SMB, especially now with the rise of the remote workforce. Remote work grew by 44% over the last five years, and many SMBs prefer to hire remote employees rather than in-house ones.
You need to have proper office space for an in-house team, which comes with high utility bills. You need to invest in furniture, computers, air conditioning, and more. You need to invest in their salaries and benefits for a remote workforce. It makes sense why a small business owner would prefer to hire remote employees.
Whoever you hire, you need to ensure that your whole team can work together seamlessly. And this is why you need collaboration tools.
Everyone can work together with proper collaboration tools wherever your team is located. Your in-house and remote teams can work together on the same projects. You can get in touch with your clients more efficiently. You can keep track of everyone’s progress and ensure that all the deadlines are met.
Implement a BYOD Policy
Bring your device (BYOD) policy is gaining traction in offices worldwide, and for a good reason. You’ll enjoy many benefits by allowing your employees to use their smartphones and laptops at work.
Primarily, you’ll be able to cut costs. You won’t need to invest in employee-specific devices or additional equipment. This way, you can generate up to $350 of value per employee annually. But this isn’t the only benefit.
Most employees feel more comfortable using the devices they’re already accustomed to. They have no learning curve; they know exactly how to use them. They can even fix minor issues with them without the need for an IT specialist.
When your employees are comfortable with their equipment, they’ll become more productive and motivated. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Don’t Forget Cybersecurity
The BYOD policy has many benefits but can come with a few risks. Especially in the form of Cybersecurity.
You won’t have complete control over how your employees use their devices. Even if they use them exactly as they should in the workplace, you’ll be putting your business data at risk if they aren’t careful when using them at home.
So, make sure that your employees know all the proper cybersecurity measures to follow at work and home. Secondly, have them use a VPN whenever they’re online.
With a reliable VPN, your employees can stay anonymous online. No one can intercept their connection to a network, and no one can monitor them. It can virtually eliminate the risk of an expensive data breach.
Also, make sure that all the devices have strong firewalls. A good firewall is your first line of defense against hackers and cybercriminals, so this should never be neglected.
Chatbots Are the Biggest Trend
Regardless of your niche, your business always needs to be available to your customers. They need to be able to reach you whenever and wherever they want. The only way you can ensure this kind of availability is with chatbots.
AI chatbots are powerful customer support agents that are very affordable as well. They can easily be implemented on most sites and even across different social media platforms.
The best of them can hold human-like conversations and answer over 80% of customer questions. They’re accurate, will improve your response times, and improve the quality of your customer service.
All you need is a single chatbot, and you’ll be available to your customers 24/7, almost everywhere on the internet.
By allowing chatbots to handle most customer interactions, you and your team can focus on more critical business matters. You’ll increase your efficiency, improve customer satisfaction rates, and boost your profits.
The Bottom Line
A few minor tech investments can bring your business to the next level. You’ll be able to cut your spending, increase your profits, and boost your productivity by: