When you start your own business, the budget may be tight, so your technology investment needs to be strategic. What technology is really necessary for your business? You might have to do without some of the bells and whistles that came with working for someone else.

New technology has value if it:

  • Improves operations
  • Increases productivity
  • Controls costs

If not, why buy it? If the projected costs are larger than the expected return on investment, consider waiting until you can better afford the expense.

Think about the size of:

  • Your business
  • Your market
  • Your customer base

Are they too small to warrant a complex system? Or are they so large that you'll need to outsource your technical needs? This may be wiser than trying to do it all yourself, especially if technology is not your area of expertise. Your IT advisor might turn out to be as useful as your lawyer or accountant.

Any system using technology should evolve as your business grows. If you invest wisely at the beginning, you should not require major upgrades later. Remember that if you do need to implement more new technology later on, there may be interruptions to the workflow and potential inconvenience to clients.

Perhaps a priority is to make your office portable by investing in the latest mobile technology. Some cloud-based solutions, such as email and document sharing and storage, may work well for your business and allow you to save money for more specialized applications. Do your research to determine the options that are best for your situation.

Good training and support will help make the adoption of any technology a success. On-going analysis of your needs can also keep you on top of your investment. Who knows — maybe the most strategic technology investment will be the espresso machine that keeps you from spending too much money at the local coffee shop.

Ready to make more start-up decisions? Consult our Business start-up checklist to make sure you don't forget any key steps. If you're set to embrace information communications technologies, take a look at Improving your productivity with technology.