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Making an IT investment in your SMB? This definitive guide is for you

Is your small or medium-sized business planning on opening the wallet to make an IT investment this year? It is imperative that you spend money wisely. After all, the amount of financial resources you have is limited and you need to get the best bang for your buck. As the marketplace continues to evolve, you might not have a solid idea of where to place your hard-earned money. However, the IT investment tips here are something every SMB should consider if they wish to grow and succeed down the line.

Advertising and marketing

Right now, the economy moves at a rapid speed and you need to market to your consumers personally if you wish to catch their attention. Click segmentation is this kind of a personalization technology that enables you to customize emails so that they receive mail based on their mentioned interests or previous buys.

Apart from that, social media is a great way to connect with your customer base. You may be falling behind if you don’t invest money in this sector. Facebook advertising, especially, is slowly becoming a competitive market, and you might have to shell out more in the future. So, it is a good idea to build a presence there before the rates get prohibitively steep.

AI and ML

Many companies use automated call answering systems to guide customers where they want to go. Now, the software is also capable of recognizing complex speech patterns, categorizing requests, and forming a database of information regarding the customers that could be used later. This is one machine learning application that many organizations are beginning to use.

AI usually impacts an SMB on a widespread level by taking large quantities of data from the company and putting it to use for business processes, financial investing, and customer acquisition.

Improvements and equipment

Start thinking about putting money into capital equipment and improvements. Thanks to new tax laws, you should see improved cash flow. Take advantage of this opportunity to improve your business equipment. At the same time, consider your physical workspace. With shifting employee behavior, rising telecommuting, and more flexible tech tools, you might have to change the workspace design. Now might be a good time to conduct those capital improvements.

Cybersecurity

Hackers don't just have Fortune 500 companies in their sights. SMBs are constantly facing cyberattacks. That’s why you should invest in data backups, firewalls, antivirus software, or password and encryption security. Shelling out some money now can help you save more, later. You might even consider buying cybersecurity insurance.

Business services

Pave the path for organizational success by investing in business services. Be it bookkeeping assistance, tech support or tax advice, your investment in the experience and knowledge of other firms may pay off big dividends later. Modern accounting services combine the advantages of automated processes with the expertise offered by industry professionals at a reasonable cost.

People

Strong leadership is crucial to the longevity of your business. Start hiring leaders and people who bring experience, skills, and a winning attitude to your team. Hire quickly and learn to retain key employees. Offer them reasons to stay on in the company, including a profit-sharing plan, retirement benefits, etc. Don’t forget to invest in employee development, like mentoring and training, to hold onto top talent.

Processes

Spend time developing and documenting your investment processes. Sure, it’s a long process, but it will pay off in the long run, when you have to deal with internal controls, streamline your work, and identify the people responsible for every aspect. Document the important areas of your business, like development, accounting, firm policies, quality control, onboarding, and accounting. Documenting all this also reduces anxiety and stress in your team.

Dropshipping

Curate products from suppliers in your business to cater to a specific niche. When customers buy your products, send the order to your supplier and get it fulfilled on your behalf. Be responsible for your customer service and work with trusted suppliers. This is a low-investment method of testing product and market fits and launching a business prior to investing in your personal products and services.

Online offerings

Digital products are unlike tangible ones, so you won’t have to deal with pesky shipping or manufacturing costs. Also, your margins stay high. But you must figure out what makes a good digital product and what people will be willing to pay and download from your site. If you have a particular talent that will work great as a digital product, consider packaging it into a fresh stream of income.

Safety net

2019 will be the year that most startups attain the breakeven point, including yours. You should be able to reap sufficient profits to match your upfront capital investments and expenses. Even though this is the main goal, it is rarely the case. Many variables are involved in the initial year, you are not in control of all of them. At the end of the year, your business may still turn out to be in the red.

One specific variable that is within your control, however, is planning for potential outcomes. Trust me, you won’t be the first company to need a couple more years to hit the profitability targets. But when you’ve set aside a safety net of funds, your second year should prove a lot more manageable.

Before investing, though, you must make it a point to name your essentials and forecast a second-year budget as well. This will provide a bit of context when you’re planning how much you wish to save.

An IT investment can ensure success

Most small and midsized businesses tend to fail in the first five years. To beat those odds and emerge successful, you must concentrate all of your efforts on creating new business opportunities while minimizing your overhead to the max. It is your responsibility to create a springboard for continually reinvesting in the growth of your business. The avenues mentioned above, however, should provide some idea on how to proceed towards making 2019 a profitable year for your business.

Featured image: Pixabay

Rahul Sharma

Rahul Sharma is an accomplished copywriter/blogger who likes to create content that compel people to comment, share, and discuss. He has written content for blogs, websites, forums and magazines. His work is published on some popular websites like Android Authority, Tweakyourbiz and Tech.co. etc. You can contact follow him on Twitter @Im_RahulSharma.

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Rahul Sharma
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