Technology changes quickly and seemingly all of the time. Just as soon as you buy a new computer for your business, it’s out of date and needs to be replaced. Likewise, it seems as if Apple announces a new line of products every year ranging from personal computers to tablets and phones. With so much changing all of the time, how do you know when is the right time to update your technology?
Business vs. Personal Tech
The first thing to consider in this decision is if you’re updating your tech for business or for personal reasons. If it’s personal technology, you can probably stand to wait and be patient with your current computer or phone. However, if you’re in need of new technology to run a business, you have to consider how outdated tech can affect your productivity. For example, if an old computer takes 10 minutes to boot up for your employee, you just lost 10 minutes of work time from that employee.
While you may put your personal technology on hold and wait to buy the latest Apple Watch or iPhone, you don’t want to be stuck with old computers and phones in your business.
How should you approach buying new technology for a business?
Look for Work Programs
Major retailers like the Apple Store or the Microsoft store have business programs that allow business owners to purchase multiple computers at a discounted rate. Like the student programs offered by these same companies, you’ll be rewarded each time you do business with them and you’ll find better discounts. Similarly, you might find printers, fax machines and the like through an office retailer like Staples. Sign up for a business account and be prepared to save.
Make Sure You’re Buying the Latest & Greatest
If you’re investing in new technology for your business, you don’t want to have to update it immediately after pulling it out of the box. Be sure to purchase the latest technology (whether you’re an Apple or Microsoft customer) so you can rest assured you’ll be free of updates for a few months. Try asking your sales rep about any upcoming products to stay in the loop and avoid buying something that could be outdated in a short amount of time.
Get the Software You Need
While most machines will come loaded with the basics, you need to consider software that is specific to your business. For instance, you may need Microsoft Office to use Excel sheets or a specific accounting program for your bookkeeper. It’s easier to buy a computer pre-loaded with the programs rather than try to add them in after the fact.
Purchase Protection Plans
Like any type of insurance, a protection plan will come in handy when you need it. Any technology provider will offer a protection plan and it can span a short amount of time or longer like 5 years (if needed). Although it adds to the upfront cost of what you’re buying for your business, you’ll be thankful you don’t have to spend thousands on a tech repair company when something stops working.
Get In a Buying Cycle
Because computer technology changes so often, you’ll want to budget to buy new products and cycle through old products every 2-3 years. Just remember, if it allows you to work smarter and not harder, it’s worth it.