Taking advantage of digital technology on a budget


Date: 17 November 2021

A cafe owner updates her digital signage

Most business owners do their best to stay up-to-date with the latest tech. Generally speaking, innovations enable businesses to work more efficiently and serve their customers better. So, firms who adopt the tech early on typically have the edge over those that do not.

The problem is, buying equipment and training staff to use it often requires a sizable investment on the part of the business owner. At times, when money is tight, finding the necessary funds is a challenge.

However, many things can be done to overcome that financing challenge. Here are the best of them. So that the suggestions make more sense, we are going to consider how a café-owner with a tight budget could successfully go digital without ruining their finances, but the advice below could equally apply to any business.

Identify which tech will benefit your business the most

Focus your efforts on buying the tech that will benefit your business the most. How you measure that is up to you. For example, a café owner whose kitchen staff are struggling to keep up at busy times is most likely to benefit from equipment that helps to speed up the cooking process.

Whereas businesses that operate in an area where people do not have long for lunch might be better adopting an order-ahead app. This would give the business a chance to serve more people during the lunchtime rush.

Some technologies, like digital signage, would benefit any size or type of café. Right now, this tech is probably at the top of many cafés or restaurants 'must have' list. So, let's look at how a café owner can find the funds to afford them.

Why does cafés investing in digital display screens make sense?

These screens are extremely versatile. They can be used as digital menus, kitchen boards, entertainment screens, to strengthen branding and to advertise to customers. Digital signage for cafes has many potential uses. Because they bring multiple benefits, they quickly pay for themselves.

Take, for example, using them to advertise to customers. The fact that you can change what is displayed whenever you want means that you can make your advertising super targeted. If you are halfway through lunch and still have most of that day's special still to sell, it's easy to feature that item prominently on your screens.

Provided you are using digital menus, you could even reduce the price to make sure it sells through. You would need to ensure that anyone who is sitting down eating the dish already gets the discount too. But that's not hard to do. Nor is changing what you have listed on the menu, how it is ordered and which products or dishes you promote.

If you do it right, you will reduce wastage, be able to feature the dishes that make you the most profit and create any promo you fancy. You don't have to wait for posters to be printed or go to the expense of changing what you already have. That in itself saves you money.

Digital screens are not that expensive to buy or run

Provided you buy from the right sources, even quite large screens are not expensive. But, before buying or leasing one, remember to factor in the running costs. If you are not careful, the cost savings you made when buying the screen can soon be eaten up in power charges. This simple energy consumption calculator will help you work out the costs.

Double-check what is included in the deal

Any café owner that wants to tap into the power of digital advertising within the premises needs access to good software. Small businesses don't have the time or money to spend hours every week creating ads. So, it is important to choose a package that includes easy to use software. This will give you access to plenty of templates specifically designed for cafes and plenty of copyright-free images.

Financing new equipment

All of the advice above is about choosing a low-cost piece of equipment that does such a good job it quickly pays for itself. All of which has a positive impact on a company's balance sheet.

But what do you do if you do not have the cash to buy a screen outright? Here are some ways to get around that issue:

  • Lease your screens instead of buying
  • Take out a loan, some lenders will happily lend a firm that can demonstrate the benefits of digital screens the money
  • Seek funding from local schemes, many of these are set up specifically to lend firms relatively small sums of money

Once installed, you could approach other local businesses to see if they would be prepared to pay you a small fee for advertising what they offer. Afterall, you have a captive audience that may well want those services.

The above approach can be applied to buying any technology your business needs. There is no need to let your competitors beat you and take your market share.

Copyright 2021. Featured post made possible by Julia Marshall at HeyGoodMorning.

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