Technology

One of the things that unites all SMEs is that they all rely on technology to keep the cogs turning.

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Technology helps you perform the day-to-day tasks, but it also helps in other areas, such as reaching your customers. Whether you’re starting a business or you currently run an SME, you can approach the subject of technology in a way that supports your growth goals.

Basic equipment

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If you’re just starting out, you and your staff will need computers, that’s a no-brainer. Laptops are portable, meaning staff have the flexibility to take them away and work from home. They can then plug them into external screens when they get to the office. If you’re doing work that requires a lot of computing power however, you may need to explore desktop options.

For basic communication you’ll need some kind of telephone solution. Getting multiple phone lines is one option. Alternatively, you can look at VoIP (voice over internet protocol) or an internet phone system, which will enable you to add additional lines but also let your employees video call and web conference – great for low-cost training and reducing travel.

The silver lining in the cloud service

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Think about which technology best meets your business needs. If you aren’t doing the kind of work that requires a high-speed wired network, would you see more of a benefit from a Wi-Fi router instead? Will a SaaS solution for something like HR handle the job of a large and expensive physical server system?

Could you cut down on costly physical computer network systems and go cloud-based? If your priority is growth, cloud-based services offer you the immediacy of a software solution for things like absence management, document storage, social media automation and email marketing.

One of the key benefits of cloud-based services is that they can be accessed from anywhere. The ability to work remotely gives your team added flexibility, which often has a positive impact on productivity. If the kind of work you do allows it, being able to work remotely is convenient and also helps staff more easily manage work with their personal lives.

There are also free tools that let you share and collaborate on documents in real time. That said, if you depend on an office-based server and it goes down, everything could grind to a halt.

Go paperless?

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Whether you’re just starting out or looking to migrate your existing paper setup to a paperless environment, you’ll need to increase your digital storage space. Cloud-based or traditional, you’re going to need extra data storage.

There’s no hard and fast rule. Your business needs will dictate the best technologies to invest in. When making purchase choices, ask yourself whether the traditional office setup will really serve your needs. If you approach technology looking for the lightest, most adaptable solution to support the addition of new employees to your company, you’ll be heading the right direction.

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