As the Australian business landscape becomes increasingly digital, SMEs face growing pressure to technologically transform or risk falling behind their competitors. However, digital transformation requires investment and the technology that businesses need may not always be available at a cost-effective price point. Nevertheless, it is possible for SMEs to digitally transform and futureproof their business without crippling their bottom line.
A technology investment is precisely that: an investment. As such, it needs to provide a strong return. As businesses look to transform and modernise, the thought process, or motivation behind it, needs to change. Business leaders need to look at technology investments to drive business growth, and not as a cost-saving exercise.
Digital transformation, especially for SMEs, can be a double-edged sword. Failing to invest in digital means failing to keep pace with the market. Yet, at the same time, it also means significant spend on something that will take time to deliver a return. However, making smarter, more considered decisions when it comes to technology investments can make all the difference.
When committing to new technology investments, one of the biggest considerations for SMEs is the 12-month roadmap for their business. The last two years have disrupted virtually every business and industry, and most will now be looking at a different roadmap than what was originally planned.
Before investing in new technologies, it’s essential to consider how the business has changed and what the goals are for the next 12 months. This will help the business to map out the technology ecosystem that is required to help meet those goals and better prepare the business for the future. As part of this, it’s also essential to consider any market or industry changes and how technology can help the business scale and adapt to shifting market and customer needs.
Business leaders also need to consider the financial incentives involved in making new, transformative technology investments. The Australian government has announced the Small Business Technology Investment Boost to help businesses acquire the technology they need. This initiative lets businesses with less than $50 million aggregated annual turnover write off $120 of every $100 they spend on digital solutions.
However, government incentives only go so far. While they can help businesses to recover costs over time, they still need to consider how they will fund technology innovation and digital transformation in the first place. Leveraging the right payment option can help businesses realise the benefits of technology investments with minimal impact to their existing cashflow. And, over time, the benefits of having the right technology in place can effectively lead to it paying for itself.
Flexible financing options, such as software and services payment plans, are available to help businesses transform their operations without incurring significant costs upfront. This lets them make more affordable payments over time and helps reduce the risk of meeting long-term business needs by using risk adjusted payment plans. Working with a specialised technology financing partner can help SMEs find a solution that meets their specific business needs. It can also mean that they are repaying technology investments as those investments deliver value, reducing risk substantially.
Ultimately, digital transformation is the future for SMEs and specialised technology finance payment plans are the way forward.