16 smart tips for leveraging technology affordably in your business

Starting a business is a business that takes time, effort and money. While hiring and maintaining a team of employees helps ensure that the organization is able to meet customer needs, leaders must also ensure that the business is running as efficiently as possible. – and technology is the perfect tool for this task.

However, it is difficult to determine which technology will best meet the needs of the company when it comes to an ongoing and expensive investment. Below, 16 Newsweek Expert Forum members offer advice on how entrepreneurs can leverage technology solutions in their businesses without breaking the bank.

1. Find solutions that improve inefficiencies

Look for technology that improves inefficiencies and speeds up collaboration and communication. For example, I use Loom a lot in my business. It is cost effective and allows users to record personalized videos to send to prospects and employees. I also use it to narrate feedback on documents and to create reproducible documentation of standard operating procedures for training. – Matt Domo, Fifth Vantage

2. Recruit experts for the collaboration

Recruiting experts, avoiding duplication, and avoiding over-engineering are ways an entrepreneur can leverage affordable technology within their business. Collaborating with experts to implement and/or optimize your technology stack will eliminate costly mistakes. Make sure your technology tools each serve unique purposes. Finally, keep the ecosystem simple. Complexity is not synonymous with sophistication. – Sabina Pons, Growth Molecules

3. Implement cloud-based security products

As more and more business operations migrate online, entrepreneurs would be wise to implement cloud-based distributed security products to protect enterprise user metadata and database integrity. By deploying stacked products of public protocol or blockchain technology, companies eliminate single points of failure in their cloud storage systems that have historically been subject to hacks and data breaches. – Anthem Blanchard, HeraSoft

4. Take advantage of apps

Entrepreneurs now have access to applications that provide services at reduced costs to improve efficiency and overall workflow. Apps like Hootsuite can help an entrepreneur manage their social media presence internally instead of hiring an outside agency. Entrepreneurs can find cheap help with almost any needed service on Fiverr. Advancements in technology make the entrepreneurial journey possible. – Cynthia Salarizadeh, House of Saka, Inc.

5. Understand your business needs first

Understanding business needs is key to defining how technology can be leveraged. In many organizations, technology often drives business programs, leading to inefficiencies and misaligned strategies. Technology is an enabler, not a driver, and if harnessed appropriately and integrated with business needs, the return on investment can be significant. – Nita Kohli, Kohli Advisors

6. Only invest if it benefits the company

The right technology can be used to improve your processes and efficiency, but you really need to know which technology is best for your business. Technology only adds to the noise if it doesn’t benefit your business. Look for tools that allow you to automate and streamline your workflow. – Elliott Smith, Ohana Addiction Treatment Center

7. Make changes when an investment isn’t working

When we started our business, we invested heavily in technology to automate our business processes. We assumed that we were setting up the infrastructure for 100 people instead of five. We also took the approach of failing fast and not believing that we had to stick with a particular technology that didn’t work for us. – Kevin Carr, Edera L3C (manages the National Coordination Center)

8. Shop

I think it’s important to compare the technologies you need now and in the foreseeable future. Don’t overspend on features you don’t need, but also keep in mind the short-term needs of the future so you don’t have to upgrade frequently. Consider software-as-a-service offerings as flexible alternatives to purchasing. – Margie Kiesel, Avaneer Health

9. Conduct research

The readers of the present are the leaders of the future. Search the web for forums, blogs, and articles featuring technology breakthroughs in your field. Most entrepreneurs rarely practice this, even though it can play a vital role in their growth. Many of your business-related questions or problems already have state-of-the-art online solutions that can save you time, money, and peace of mind. – David Castain, David Castain & Associates

10. Talk to your peers

Talk to a trusted peer and get their opinion before buying. Sometimes a peer can provide a cheaper alternative or can share information about how much money you’ll save by investing in the technology in question. Tips can often be a cost-saving measure you don’t want to forget. – Chris Tompkins, The Go! Agency

11. Implement technology that provides business information

Introduce technology that provides deep insight into global operations. Visibility is essential. With a better understanding of where your business is succeeding and opportunities for growth, leaders can make informed decisions to optimize operations, maximize performance, and improve results. -Alistair Fulton, Semtech

12. Leverage available data

Most companies are sitting on a mountain of data, and more and more employees have the skills to exploit that data. Opening up access to your data with data protection settings will allow your company’s employees to discover valuable information that others may have missed. You never know if someone knows just enough about the data to discover your company’s next breakthrough. -David Wright, Boss

13. Consult your network for advice

We started collaborating with other entrepreneurs in our area to build business relationships with more tech-savvy companies in our niche. They taught us how to implement new ideas and create a solid action plan. It was our saving grace without us having a lot of extra expense in a new start-up business. – Tammy Sons, Tennessee Nursery

14. Assess long-term value

When an entrepreneur evaluates investing in a new technology, they need to consider what they are currently doing and whether they can grow with it. Consider what your short and long term goals are. What are the KPIs to measure success? Also, don’t forget to train your staff to get the most out of your investment. This is an often overlooked but essential step in optimizing your technology investments. – Melissa Puls, Ivanti

15. Lean on those who would use technology

Increase your radial intelligence. Seek input from people at all levels who would interact directly with the technology you are considering. Listen to understand and listen to patterns. It would not be a survey and it is not an online multiple choice 360 ​​assessment. Think of it as gardening. Before planting in a system, assess the working soil. Identify your technology’s job and what it should be. – Jay Steven Levin, WinThinking

16. Don’t follow trends

Don’t jump on the hot new innovation of the moment. Focus first on identifying how the technology will meet a legitimate business need. Next, consider using an on-demand or consumption-based model. -Umang Modi, TIAG, Inc.