First Person: How I Keep My Small Business Tech Costs Low

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Rebecca Black in her office.

As a small business owner, I have don't have much wiggle room in my budget. The bulk of my income comes from customers' discretionary spending. Therefore, it is extremely important that I keep my overhead to a minimum. Follow along as I share my favorite tech saving tips.

Don't use website designers.

A simple five-page basic website could cost around $500 for a professional website designer. This bare-bones site with no bells and whistles would not suffice for my business, as I require more than one website and hundreds of pages. My sites also require constant updating. The cost of hiring a professional to create and update each site could be extremely expensive.

Thankfully, I found website software that is easy to use and allows me to create professional looking websites in no time. With no previous website design experience, I can add slideshows, informational popup boxes, videos and shopping carts with ease. I easily save thousands a year

Never pay retail for software; aim for half price.

Never using substandard software just to save money, I also never pay retail. There's no reason to when it is so easy to request a discount, haggle or use promotional discounts. For example, my website software lists for $99.99 and yet I never pay more than $49.95. If a discount for the software isn't offered to me via email, I call the company directly and request one. Typically, they agree and offer me a package, which I never accept. I always receive the software at my price with extras, like CDs of high-quality stock photos.

Don't upgrade unless necessary.

Software can get glitchy as it ages due to online programs updating automatically leaving old software incompatible. However, many programs can last years, like my photo editing software. It may be over seven-years-old, but it still does the job just fine.

Skipping generations is just fine with me.

Just like many other business owners, I need a smart phone to text clients or to find an address when I'm on the run. It is tempting to purchase a new phone every two years, as the newest generations leave their elders in the dust. However, it's not budget friendly. The newest generation phones can cost $200. Thus, I only upgrade my phone when it falls apart.

Never get caught up in the hype.

Ads are quite convincing. It's easy to believe that new computers and printers can do just about everything, except cooking dinner. I can't lie. Touch-screen computers are seductive, especially since my computers are over five-years-old. Heck, my printers are over five as well. To clear my head of sleek new machines dancing in my head, I only have to ask myself one question. Why do I need this? This simple question saves my budget every time. If it isn't broke, why go out and buy more stuff?

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