Staying Tech-savvy on a Budget
An investment in technology is necessary for almost any business. Fortunately, the right investments will help save you money and run more efficiently. There is free software that can let you do almost anything you need to do, and refurbished equipment can let you use the latest hardware at a fraction of the cost.
Purchasing refurbished desktops, laptops, and printers can drastically reduce the cost of buying new equipment, while not sacrificing any performance or productivity. Many refurbished products are returns that have been repaired or leases that have been updated, besides saving money; you're also saving the planet by supporting a practice that minimizes the environmental impact of electronic equipment.
Deals on Phones
Just like refurbished computers, refurbished smartphones are going to save you a lot of money while still giving you the most up-to-date devices. You can also look online for coupons, or search for phones on sites like eBay, or amazon. Another quick tip, would be to try shopping for your new phone on Black Friday. A lot of people don’t realize the steals on technology they can get around the holidays.
Point of Sale (POS)
With the right mobile app, you can replace your POS equipment. Square gives you a card reader that plugs into your smartphone and lets you accept credit cards with only a 2.75% fee and offers a generous flat monthly payment plan for small businesses.
GoPayment offers a similar service with a 1.75% fee for swiped cards with a $12.95 monthly fee.
PayPal Here lets you swipe credit cards and accept PayPal payments for a 2.7% fee with no monthly charge.
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement is one that is mostly employee driven. And while mandating that employees buy smartphones and laptops to use at work, giving them that option keeps you from needing to spend money on equipment and makes happy employees that get to use mobile devices they're familiar with.
OpenOffice provides you with a full suite of software for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and graphics, as well as databases. Google Docs has many of the same services but in a cloud environment for easy access from any device. Although these aren't always as robust as some of the leading commercial options, they are more than adequate at no cost.
Prezi is a free program for creating presentations that tries to remove some of the stale, static look of most slide presentations.
CNET is a goldmine of free software downloads. They provide downloads for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and it is easy to navigate to find solutions and reviews so you don't waste time trying to find the right software. Check out their site for these downloads.
FreedomPop is a new company providing customers with one gigabyte of internet per month for free once you've purchased their wireless modem router for only $89. For $9.99 a month you can make it 10GBs.
Free Document Storage
Cloud storage offers a safe backup for your files, and there are several large companies offering limited storage for free. Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Drive give you 5GB for free while Microsoft's SkyDrive gives you 7GBs.
You don't have to let a tight budget keep you in the dark. Apps and free software are changing the way we do business. With a small investment in the right hardware that you find at a deeply discounted price, you can make your technological investment payoff in a big way. With a little digging, you can find all your technology investments at the right price.
Jared Jacobs has professional and personal interests in technology. As an employee of Dell, he has to stay up to date on the latest innovations in large enterprise solutions and consumer electronics buying trends. Personally, he loves making additions to his media rooms and experimenting with surround sound equipment. He's also a big Rockets and Texans fan.