Running a small business can often feel like walking a tight rope.  Getting the staff, space, and equipment necessary to stay on track and even expand can often test the limits of your budget and even put you into the red (if you’re not already).  In short, you may need to scale back your plans until you are earning enough to purchase all the items on your list.  But there are a few technological innovations that are worth the initial cost because of the solutions they can offer for your enterprise.  If you are only going to spend your limited cash on a few key items, these are the ones you should invest in for the betterment of your business.

  1. Desktop computer.  In this day and age, you really can’t conduct business without a desktop computer to send emails, store and manage data, track payroll, and virtually do everything that would once have been done on paper.  While you may opt for a laptop instead, you are generally going to pay more money for the same power and storage capability (although the built-in portability may be worth the extra expense).  However, if you’re trying to save money and you can only get one, opt for the desktop to get more bang for your buck.
  2. iPhone 4.  While you may spend less on an Android or Blackberry, no handheld can offer you the many services that are available on the iPhone, including their most recent addition of a two-way teleconferencing feature that functions like a webcam.  Throw in all of the many useful apps available from iTunes and there’s really no other phone that can compare.  Of course, their network isn’t quite as good as Verizon, but if rumors prove true, the iPhone may soon be available for other carriers.
  3. VoIP.  Voice-over Internet Protocol is really just a fancy way of saying online phone service.  In other words, it’s a way to communicate for business without having to pay extra for a phone.  Of course, you can do this for free with a service like Skype, but opting for a paid service generally means you get a lot of added value such as web conferencing capabilities, as well as forwarding for voice mail, email, and faxes.  All of these communications options are generally offered for a flat monthly rate.
  4. Task manager.  One of the best ways to keep your business organized is to invest in a to-do list manager that suits your needs.  While Microsoft Outlook is definitely useful for setting a schedule and arranging meetings, it doesn’t have a lot of options for providing details about upcoming projects, tracking progress, adding notes, or sharing.  Nor does it have any add-ons to allow you to connect to other devices (besides your computer).  If you require this type of functionality, you may want to consider programs like Remember the Milk (RTM) or Todoist.
  5. Social networking presence.  There’s currently no better way to spread your name with limited funding than to secure an online presence through social networking.  Although you should probably start by creating a website that is professional and easy to navigate, you can expand and update your business quickly and easily through additional social networking.

Sarah Danielson writes for AdvanceMe where you can get a business cash advance for your small business.