Technology solutions help businesses become more productive and profitable. They allow you to automate redundant tasks, streamline your processes, and many more. But since small businesses have limited budgets, 41% of Business.com’s poll respondents cited cost as a reason for not investing in more technology tools and services. Fortunately, beneficial yet affordable IT solutions are becoming more prevalent and accessible to small businesses.
#1. Cloud services
Cloud computing seems specially made for small businesses. For a modest monthly subscription fee, it grants businesses access to data storage and processing resources over the internet, allowing you to do away with heavy capital investments and ongoing maintenance that on-premise implementations require. This enables you to gain access to the same robust business software and IT infrastructure that were once only available to big businesses. And since cloud services follow a pay-as-you-go pricing plan, you have the flexibility to easily add or remove computing resources as your business scales up or down.
There’s a wide variety of free to low-cost cloud services available that can significantly help small businesses such as:
- Office 365 – Productivity
- Asana – Workflow management
- Dropbox – Storage
- Hootsuite – Social media management
- MailChimp – Mailing list management
- SurveyMonkey – Survey building and tracking
- Zoom – Video conferencing
#2. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Small businesses that are looking to significantly reduce their telephone expenses can turn to VoIP. VoIP is a phone service that lets you call using a broadband internet connection instead of regular landlines. It allows you to affordably make and receive calls anywhere, even international and mobile calls. VoIP-to-VoIP calls are free, unlike landline-to-landline calls.
In terms of features, landlines are no match against VoIP. While landlines are limited to voice calls, VoIP enables you to video chat, send files, and even share computer screens during a call. You can even use your laptop or mobile phone as an extension of your office phone, which extends your phone system to anywhere you are. You can also integrate most VoIP platforms with other business software like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, sales software, and email marketing tools.
Although call forwarding, voicemail, call conferencing, and several other features are also available with your landline connection, these are usually additional costs on your phone bill. On the other hand, many VoIP features usually come at no extra cost such as three-way calling, call forwarding, call blocking, call waiting with caller ID, and many others. Those that do cost extra are features that are not possible with landlines like call analytics, voicemail to text, and voicemail to email messaging.
Scalability is one of the most significant advantages of VoIP. Landline systems are limited to the number of lines that you have connected, and adding more means installing more hardware and cables. In contrast, VoIP allows you to support as many lines as your internet connection’s strength can manage. This drastically reduces your setup and maintenance costs.
#3. Digital marketing
Businesses used to spend a fortune just to be able to advertise their products. They were limited to running ads on billboards, newspapers, and radio and TV stations, which can become expensive quickly. While those traditional advertising methods can potentially be worthwhile investments for the company, their effectiveness and return on investment can be difficult to measure and track.
Digital marketing, on the other hand, is much more budget-friendly and easier to track. It encompasses social media, email, websites, and other online channels. Unlike with traditional advertising where you pay a fixed amount based on the size or length of your ad, online channels commonly charge on a per-click, per-view, or per-action basis. This means you are only billed when a user takes an action and not by mere placement like in the traditional way. They also commonly come with free analytics tools that help you figure out the best times to post and the types of content that generate the most engagement.
#4. Managed IT services
When you partner with managed IT services providers (MSPs) like Frontline, you get access to a larger breadth of expertise compared to a one-man IT department since they are composed of highly skilled IT professionals equipped with a wide array of certifications and licenses. This means you don’t have to hire multiple IT professionals just to cover all your bases. All you need is to pay a flat monthly fee that is significantly less than the full-time salary of IT professionals, which is $48,204 per year on average. This doesn’t even include benefits.
Not only that, 46% of companies with managed IT services cut their annual IT costs by 25% or more, while 50% cut their annual IT costs up to 24%. This clearly shows that MSPs can deliver significant cost savings.
Deciding on where to spend your limited IT budget can be quite challenging for small business leaders. It’s wise to partner with IT experts like Frontline that can align your technology solutions with your business objectives and optimize your IT investments. Read our FREE eBook to have a better grasp on how we can help your business grow.