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Should You Invest in Technology if Recession is Looming?

Thoughts for the future

It’s a natural human tendency to spend when we’ve got it and batten down the hatches when the economy slows or takes a downturn. But is that always the best approach?
While nothing’s certain, there are enough alarm bells going off to suggest a recession is on its way. If you agree it’s just a matter of time, and you are trying to decide whether to invest in technology now or freeze spending, consider these four tips for riding out any potential economic storm:

1. Don’t Stop Buying - Just Be Strategic

Many financial planners will tell you that when the economy stalls, you want to be more conservative in your business investments. Put off major purchases and focus on items that might help you not only survive but potentially thrive. None of that suggests you shouldn’t continue to invest in technology.
You definitely do not want to go out and unnecessarily revamp your entire office with all the latest gear. But your PCs and network printers are probably key to your business operations. And if it’s been three years or four years since they were purchased, failing to refresh them as they age could cost you dearly.
According to a global Techaisle survey, the cost to repair older PCs equals or exceeds what it would cost to buy a new one. Businesses are spending an average of $427 per PC to fix computers 4 years old or older. In addition, the survey reveals that while small businesses using newer PCs enjoyed improved productivity and lower operating costs, those with older machines saw diminished worker productivity and satisfaction due to operational and security problems with their computers.
The bottom line: In economic downturns, you should be more careful with spending, but delaying all capital expenditure could hurt your business in ways you can’t afford during these perilous times.

2. Going Remote

When the economy is going strong, paying thousands of dollars every month for office space might feel like a no-brainer. But when things change, you may be asking whether you really need it. While you answer may not be 100% for or against, it will pay to do the math.
Letting go of the cubicles and allowing workers to do their jobs remotely with good business laptops will not only eliminate outlandish monthly lease and utility payments but quite possibly boost worker productivity. In fact, most remote workers said they felt more productive when working from home.
The bottom line: The investment you make in supplying laptops and Wi-Fi budgets to employees to have them work out-of-the-office could possibly offset what you spend each month for office space. Whether it works for your business is obviously a case-by-case question, but now is a good time to ask.

3. Look for Deals

Okay, as a small business owner or operator, it goes without saying that you’re always looking to save a buck. But in an economic downturn, you’ll have an unusual opportunity to do so. And you should.
For one thing, every business – not just yours – is going to struggle to sell their products or services. It doesn’t matter if it’s Amazon or Mary’s PC Repair Shop at the end of Main Street. Everybody will be in a position where they may have to discount a certain percentage of their wares, and you can take advantage.
With technology, larger ticket items, like business laptops, will likely hold their own. But smaller gadgets that could prove useful for your corporate or remote office might come down in price since consumer spending on them will lag. These might include some of those fancy Bluetooth enabled thermostats and doorbells, Amazon Alexa or Google Home virtual assistants or desktop unified communications devices.
Also keep an eye out for businesses closing their doors, which unfortunately happens during a recession. Many times, they have to liquidate entire fleets of recently purchased, high-end computers and printers. These going-out-of-business sales, if you can find them by scouting Craigslist and similar online flea markets, can be a goldmine for any growing business, allowing you to add equipment more affordably.
The bottom line: With a little research, you can assure your business has access to the latest technology.

4. Look Into Managed Services

The idea of managed services might seem counterintuitive when trying to survive an economic recession. After all, when money is tight, who wants to pay for something they can do themselves?
But here’s the thing: studies have shown you can save up to 30 percent annually by shifting management of your printer fleet to a Managed Print Service (MPS) provider, who will handle selection, management and cybersecurity of those devices. With Device as a Service (DaaS), which is a complete solution combining hardware, analytics, proactive and services through the device lifecycle, studies indicate businesses can save an average of 22 percent.
The bottom line: With managed services, companies can free up more time for finding and servicing customers – a critical capability in any recession – by delegating IT management and cybersecurity responsibility to third party experts.
We all hope the economic prosperity we’ve enjoyed for the last several years continues. But with so many unknowns, it’s imperative for every business to consider how they’ll keep operations humming along should that happen. Taking these four tips to heart should help.
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