Tech: A Worthwhile Business InvestmentAccording to one source, there’s been almost a 50% increase in small business technology spending since 2015, reaching a total of $686 billion in 2017. Business IT services lead the spending pack at $298 billion dollars and business software spending is around a cool $218 billion. And it seems like it’s all worth the money. For example, CNBC found that mobile apps save small business employees nearly 730 million work hours annually, and Microsoft claims that cloud solutions decrease small business workloads by more than 42%.
Thankfully, business tech tools are also becoming increasingly affordable, making them that much more worth the investment relative to their proven advantages.
Finding The Right Tech SolutionsHowever, the business of making other businesses more efficient is already an oversaturated market, making it difficult for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelancers to parse through the noise and find the tools that will be most useful to them and provide the greatest return on investment.
For some business owners, this leads to stunted growth and paralyzed investment strategies. For example, nearly half of small businesses still don’t have a website, 80% of small businesses are still using a manual integration tool, and nearly 30% don’t have any kind of IT support.
Why are so many still stuck? It turns out that a majority of business owners agree it’s extremely difficult to decide which software will meet all their needs, which is likely one big reason for the lag.
It’s also been found, however, that 71% of people ask peers for recommendations when it comes to tech tools worth investing time, bandwidth and/or money in. We turned to our trusted community of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners across a number of industries, from wedding to real estate, and asked them about the tools that are essential to their success.
The biggest expense, after payroll, for many early-stage companies is office space. A not so new idea of co-working spaces, has thrived by offering small businesses--and "solopreneurs"--flexible office space solutions that are able to grow and contract with the ebbs and flows of business at local places such as FreeRange and Fatpipe . The offices themselves are designed to promote a sense of community--think pool tables and lounge-y common areas. Research — which is ongoing — suggests that the combination of a well-designed work environment and a well-curated work experience are part of the reason people who co-work demonstrate higher levels of thriving than their office-based counterparts. But what matters the most for high levels of thriving is that people who co-work have substantial autonomy and can be themselves at work. As more creative entrepreneurs build an online outpost for their business, the conversation always comes back to technology at some point.
As more creative entrepreneurs build an online outpost for their business, the conversation always comes back to technology at some point.
We quickly found that there are tools for nearly every department, including Administrative, Website, Sales & Marketing, and Workflow Management. Some tools and software services, including QuickBooks, were able to satisfy and improve a variety of business needs, making them true power players.
Check out all the tools below! And don’t forget to tell us about the tools that keep you growing.