Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 14th 2013 Contents Using computer and Internet-
based technology for business
can bring major benefits. How-
ever, making the right technol-
ogy choices can be a bit like a
minefield when you re navi-
gating all of the options that are out there. The
following tips can help small business start-ups
get their tech right, so that they can press on with
getting their business right.
After employee costs, information and com-
munications technology expenditure is typically
the second largest financial outlay for small busi-
nesses at start up. For many small business owners,
choosing, and implementing technology solutions
can often be a stressful and onerous process.
However, it does not have to be complicated, or
frustrating. Here are five essential tips for investing
in technology for your business.
1. Plan before you spend
Before you embark on a technology spending
spree, first ask yourself some basic questions
about your objectives and your goals. What do
you need to be personally productive? What do
you need for communicating with clients and
suppliers? What information will you be cap-
turing and how best can it be secured? What
will you need to automate key business process-
es? You need to make software decisions before
you know what hardware you should buy.
Only after you have a clear idea of what you
really what to accomplish, can be you sensibly
make decisions about what s the best technology
to get the job done.
Once you know what business tasks you will
be using your IT for, you can calculate how
much you need to spend. There is a wide range
of tech products and services for business of
all sizes, so you should never have to spend
more than you need to...if you know what you re
looking for. You may be able to take advantage
of some free apps and services at the start of
your business or you may need the added func-
tionality and support of paid-for offerings?
2. Know when to call in the experts
It might seem convenient, and cheap to reply
exclusively on personal research, or friends and
family for making technology selection decisions
and even for implementation and support. How-
ever, while this approach can give savings in
the short term, it can often lead to more delays
and increased costs in the long run.
Make sure you select a provider who under-
stands the direction you want the business to
go in and who can deliver the technical support
you need. A better approach is to use an IT
service provider who understands the direction
you want the business to go in, and who can
deliver the technical support you need. You can
talk to other businesses owners to find out who
they use for IT advice and services.
3. Make the most of mobile
In 2012, the global Internet usage from mobile
devices was 12x the amount of data that was
used for the entire Internet in the year 2000.
Mobile is here to stay. How you incorporate
mobile in your small business can spell the dif-
ference between success and failure.
Once upon a time, businesses had to think
about whether to get desktops or laptops. Today,
business computing has converged with business
communications in the form of tablets, smart-
phones, mobile apps and cloud computing.
With the right mobile device you can manage
e-mails and appointments, access office files,
keep track of news, shop, share information
with colleagues and friends, listen to music and
watch movies and more.
Tablets are rapidly growing in popularity for
business use with Apple s iPad and a growing
range of options from Google, Samsung,
Microsoft, Amazon and a host of other vendors.
Similarly, smartphones have risen phenomenally
in the past few years, to become an indispensable
tool for small business owners and employees
The power, portability, functionality and con-
nectivity offered by these devices allows you to
stay connected and continue working on the
move. So take the time to do a little research,
and figure out exactly what you need, want,
and can do without. Narrow down your options,
find the right phone, carrier and voice and data
plan. It will be more than worth it.
4. Use social media
Many small businesses find social media to
be a really helpful way of communicating, as
it is a cheap and easy way of marketing your
business and getting noticed. Creating LinkedIn,
Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles are a
low-cost and effective way of getting your busi-
ness noticed online.
But remember, a social media presence is not
something you can start up and then turn away
from. You will need to invest time and resource
to keep your social media communications up
to date and well managed.
Customers use social media to voice negative
and positive experiences, so it s important to
monitor your online accounts regularly and react
quickly and positively to any comments.
5. Secure your data
Losing an expensive laptop, smartphone or
tablet is bad enough, but the pain can be even
worse if the device lost is the only store of
important or confidential business informa-
tion. Protect your business by setting strong
passwords on your computers, encrypting
sensitive documents and backing up files fre-
Thankfully, when it comes to data security,
there are several options for all business sizes
For large amounts of data, backing up daily
to an external hard drive is still the quickest
and most reliable method. There are also a
number of secure, Internet back up services
you can use to keep your important files safe.
NOVEMBER 2013 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG23
Getting business start-up technology right
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