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Can You Afford to Upgrade Your Technology?

By Dana Lindahl for America's Backbone Weekly

Planning to upgrade your technology in the workplace can be a time consuming headache. Many of us put off upgrading our technology because of this until we just can't ignore it any more. Needless to say, it's not a constructive way of looking at this situation. A more positive way of thinking about new technology is as an investment and opportunity, rather than a cost or hassle. New technology can make your small business work with more efficiency and earn you more money. If upgrading your technology makes you more money over what you spent to upgrade, then it most certainly was an investment.

Why you can't afford not to upgrade your technology

Let's use a real world example to help expand this concept. Let's say your company runs a web design service. You have lots of incoming inquiries and you have a technological solution to sort them as they come in.

You eventually decide you only want to focus on clients who mention upfront they are planning to spend over $10,000. You add this into the form so they can specify their budget, but you quickly realize the technology you're using can't filter by that metric, and it adds all the new inquiries to your database anyway.

As a result your administrative assistant spends an hour each day sorting through this list. They don't seem particularly thrilled about doing it, but it's part of their job and they do it anyway. Things go on like this for about two months before you learn about an upgrade you can use to sort these inquiries. The software upgrade costs $1,000, which seems out of your budget, and you let your administrative assistant keep handling the sorting.

Except after two months of sorting, the software would have almost paid for itself if you didn't have your administrative assistant doing it. Let's say you pay them $20 an hour. They only need to do the sorting for 50 hours before you've spent $1,000 on it. Since they work five days per week, spending one hour per day on this task, and have been doing so for two months, they've already spent 40 hours doing it, which cost you $800.

Now, $800 is still less than $1,000, but the price of $1,000 for the software upgrade will stay the same, while you'll keep having to pay your administrative assistant to perform this task. In both the short and long term, it will be exponentially cheaper to upgrade your software, and allocate one hour of your administrative assistant's day each day to something more productive which can't be handled by software.

The longer your administrative assistant keeps performing this task, the more money you lose. The sooner you upgrade the software, the more money you make. It may not feel like it at the time, because you're paying your administrative assistant anyway and the software has an upfront cost. Sure if you only expected your business to keep its doors open for the next couple of months, then it might be cheaper to let your administrative assistant do it — but presumably you intend to be in business for more than two more months.

The main point here is not to mistake costs for investments. Some things simply are costs, while others are most certainly investments. What's the best way to tell? Ask yourself if the cost of something will be made back in either money or man-hours, in a reasonable amount of time. If the answer is yes, then that cost is an investment, and it's an investment you can't afford not to make.

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Dana Lindahl is a writer who specializes in content marketing for startups. His writing helps companies not only reach their customers but also drive sales.
Related Keywords:Database,Internet,Web Design,Web design,Internet Technology,Business,

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