You know you should refresh your hardware regularly, but as a small business, finding room in the budget is tricky.
Putting off a hardware refresh could actually cost you more money, preventing preparedness for future tech advances. It’s a challenging cycle to figure out, but never fear: We’ve gathered some tips on planning and budgeting for a regular (and realistic) PC refresh.
Understand your business needs
Before anything else, get an idea of exactly what your current tech does for you. You should approach your hardware needs like you approach the rest of your business: With a no-nonsense hardware audit and a clear, measurable plan that can be broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
First, look back at your equipment’s history. Make a timeline of tech purchases. Ask yourself:
- How old are your oldest devices?
- Did you purchase most of your hardware all at once or over a period of time?
- What are your current challenges with technology?
- Which pieces of hardware have outlasted their usefulness?
These days, you have so many device options, you might find that the devices you’ve been using aren’t what’s best for the tasks you require of them.
Research shows, regularly refreshing your business devices will lower costs in the long run. When you have a realistic look at where your business is financially and provisionally, you can make more informed decisions on what tech can help you achieve more.
Develop a plan
Create a refresh schedule. Be realistic: Start small and make sure you can stick to it.
Decide which devices should be replaced first. Write it down, put it in a spreadsheet — whatever method works best for you. Your hardware refresh cycle is another integral part of your business, so you should take it seriously.
Most businesses refresh hardware every two to four years. Smart small businesses replace a few devices each year so none of them are forced to limp past their usefulness, preventing business accounts from being drained in a single hardware overhaul.
In order to truly get a sense of what kind of hardware refresh cycle you can afford, you should first determine the costs and potential returns using Intel's ROI estimator tool.
Be sure to consider the manufacturer. Many small business buy their devices piecemeal — some from this brand, some from another — and wind up with headaches when the devices don’t play well together. Consider using a single brand for simple collaboration and better productivity.
Running a small business can be tough. And finding the money to replace your devices as often as you should can be a challenge. But keeping your hardware up to date is an important part of maintaining profitability. Even if you’re not ready to invest in new hardware today, start planning for the future to avoid potential tech emergencies.
Learn more about small business solutions that can help you elevate your business to the next level. How often do you refresh your hardware? Let us know in the comments. And, if you haven’t already, join our discussion on Twitter at @IntelSmallBiz.