To upgrade or not to upgrade?

That is the perpetual question facing small tech businesses. With software and hardware changing so rapidly in the tech world, it can be hard sometimes to know when to upgrade. When are you jumping the gun and spending money you don’t need to yet? When are you waiting too long and hindering your business growth? Here are five ways to know when it’s the right time to invest in upgrades – because your small tech biz can’t grow if you’re not keeping pace with the industry’s standards. And as your business grows, be sure to check your coverage and our guide to possible risks to make sure your business is safe to expand.

Scenario 1: When Your Company Appears Out-of-Date

Company reputation matters. That’s especially true when it comes to a small tech company’s software and hardware capabilities. If your customer-facing experience appears to be out-of-date in any way, that’s poison for your company. Are possible customers turning away from you because they see you as behind the curve compared to the rest of the industry (including your competitors)? It’s time to upgrade. You want to be sure that your company always conveys the ability to meet customers’ needs, with the most recent-as-possible tech. Otherwise, you’ll develop a reputation that will stunt your business’s growth.

Scenario 2: When Your Productivity Tools Are Hindering Productivity

Every small tech business needs the right tools to be effective and productive. Those tools could be programs – like Photoshop, Evernote, Quicken, or Dropbox – that streamline your company’s productivity. Or those tools could be things like graphic cards, RAM, or hard-drive storage that help run your operation. As your business expands, your software and hardware may fail to keep up with your needs. Limitations and inefficiencies can hold back your productivity, so as soon as you see this happening, update your tools to ensure you’re firing on all cylinders.

Scenario 3: When You Can Comfortably Afford To

Chances are when you started your small business, you were budget-conscious about what technology you purchased. That’s as it should be. But given how vital it is for your small tech business to be up-to-date, you want to stay ahead of the curve. So, when your business is really gaining momentum and cash flow, that’s a good time to update. Instead of seeing that success as a windfall, channel it into upgrades that will ensure you continue to keep pace with the industry. The result will be that you’re perfectly positioned to possess the tech to sustain your growth.

Scenario 4: When You’re at Risk

A recent survey showed that security threats like malware, employee error, and phishing attacks are serious concerns for small business owners. Those threats can be especially catastrophic for those who make their living with technology.  That’s why the moment any of your technology becomes outdated in a way that leaves you vulnerable to a cyber attack, you need to update. Whether it’s anti-virus programs, operating systems, wireless security, or something else, you want to ensure you’re never at risk. Every small business owner thinks it will never happen to them, until it does.  

Scenario 5: When You Need to Grow Your Business

As a small business owner, you naturally want to minimize expenses and maximize your profits. But the fact is that at some point the technology you depend on to run your business – or that is your source of business – is going to hit a ceiling that you have to blow through if you want to continue growing. There will come a time when your business just can’t go anywhere else without a move up. You need to be very honest with yourself about knowing when that crucial moment comes, even if it may result in a bit of a financial burden. A good decision to upgrade will make up the money you spend in no time.

 

Next Steps:  Are you looking to expand and grow your small business but don’t have time to keep up with the latest trends and technology? We’ve got you covered with the weekly Small Biz Ahead newsletter. Sign up today and start receiving the weekly newsletter chock full of the latest tools and resources to help you run a successful business.