By BizEngine Staff
During lean times, small businesses often cut costs by delaying purchases of new computers and peripherals. But this tactic becomes counterproductive in a hurry when antiquated equipment fails to keep pace with new market trends and developments.
When you reach the point where you must upgrade hardware and software, try these 5 money-saving tips to avoid the shock of the new:
1. Use new technology to find discounts on new technology. Many retailers now issue coupons, and broadcast limited-time sales, on Twitter. In addition, read online reviews of the products you need in publications such as PC Magazine, and then set Google Alerts when the words “deal” or “sale” appear next to them.
2. Consider software as a service (SaaS) options – a.k.a., cloud computing. Instead of investing (again) in new and upgraded software, see if it makes sense to use the cutting-edge Internet programs offered by companies such as Google Apps and Amazon. Their monthly “pay per drink” fees are often a fraction of what it costs to continually buy new products.
3. Check out Open Source software – Depending your company’s size and needs, you could substitute open-source software from the Internet for products offered by the usual Silicon Valley suspects. For example, OpenOfffice PC offers much of the functionality of Microsoft Office, but the initial license is free. If you don’t have an in-house geek squad, however, you may want to hire a consultant to oversee installation, maintenance and support
4. Forget extended warranties – As long as you’re not a total luddite, skip the extended warranty. PC’s rarely break, and when they do, most don’t cost much to replace.
5. Fire incompetent IT consultants – fast. Thanks to the knowledge gap between most tech consultants and business owners, many businesses waste time and money on geeks-for-hire who get in over their heads. If possible, hire vendors only after they are referred by trusted friends and colleagues. And instead of silently stewing when you’re given the umpteenth set of excuses, jettison these incompetents faster than Donald Trump can say, “You’re fired!”
Which of these tips makes the most sense for your business?
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