You don’t need to be the next Bill Gates to ensure long-term business success. When it comes to cost control, sometimes all you need is a bit of lateral thinking.

With most industries becoming increasingly reliant on technology, small business owners need to realise that IT isn't a cost centre. It’s an investment that makes you more competitive, and helps grow your business. You can even reduce your other business costs when you've got the right technology behind you.

The point is, you don't need a huge budget to get enterprise-grade technology. Here are 4 ways your small business can get the most out of its IT budget.

1.Embrace Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

There's a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) package for just about every business need, process and activity you can imagine. Embracing the right ones allows you to bring enterprise grade capability to your small business, but for a very reasonable price.

SaaS products like, Office 365 and Dropbox Business, are known for their usability, scalability and security. They're very also reasonably priced for what you get.

The bottom line: SaaS products are a cost-effective way to get more out of your IT budget.

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2. Use cloud storage

If you're like most other businesses in the world, the volume of data you're creating and storing is growing every day. Just take a look at these statistics about data growth:

  1. More data has been created in the past two years than all the previous centuries combined.
  2. By 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every person on the planet.

No matter the size of your business, you need servers to host your website, software and other data. Traditionally, these would be physically stored on your premises, growing your electricity bill instead of your business - and that's on top of (potentially expensive) maintenance requirements. Try scaling that as the volume of your data grows. It's a near-impossible task without an enormous IT budget.

Using a third-party cloud storage service (like OneDrive, ShareSync or Dropbox Business) is a more economical choice because there are no upfront costs, there's a manageable monthly fee per user, and it’s easily scalable.

3. Automate

It used to be that automation was only really for the manufacturing sector, or big corporates with a lot of cash to burn on research and development.

But you don’t have to be making big machines (or have big budgets) to benefit from automation. Automation software can reduce the amount of time spent on routine business functions like payroll, invoicing and even customer engagement if you invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

4. Take advantage of free apps and tools

From sharing and storage apps like Dropbox to accountancy apps such as Xero or QuickBooks, there are many free apps out there which can revolutionise your IT. Here are some other free apps that can benefit your business:

  • Slack. This is set of cloud-based productivity and instant messaging tools with which your employees can communicate quickly and effectively.
  • Genius Scan. With this app you can convert paper documents in JPEG or PDF at the touch of a button. All you need is the camera on your phone.
  • Genius Sign. The sister app of the above, Genius Sign lets you sign, fill out and annotate digital documents.
  • Deliveries. This app keeps tabs of your packages. It gives you a countdown of the days until delivery, a detailed shipment report and an interactive map to see where your packages are. It even gives you an alert upon delivery.

There are also industry specific apps available as well. Click here for a list of 11 essential browser-based apps for marketing agencies.

Make your money work for you

The way you handle your money can make or break your business. Luckily, we live in a world where reasonably-priced IT is available to small businesses, not just large-scale organisations.

Use the four tips above to take control and get more out of your IT budget, so both your business and your profit margin can grow. If you need more advice, please contact us - we're always happy to talk about cost-effective IT!

Further reading

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IT management SMBs