What does it take to scale your business for long-lasting success? It’s more than “hustle, hustle, hustle” or “create, sleep, repeat.” Tara McMullin, the author of The Art of Growth, says small business growth requires effectiveness and ease. McMullin believes the key is “discovering what creates the most returns (as you define them) with as much ease as possible.”

Modern technology makes it easier than ever to strategically grow your business, reach global customers, and achieve lasting results. Although some small business owners fear they can’t afford the latest business tech, you might be surprised at the number of free and low-cost options that are currently available. Even some of the more expensive technology investments can help recover the costs you’ll pay by boosting your ROI.

Your business doesn’t need to purchase every new tech gadget that’s out there. However, several apps, tools, and technologies help ensure your company is running smoothly. Here are our top recommendations:

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

If you aren’t familiar with Data Loss Prevention, or DLP for short, you should be. As the internet has evolved, so have the number of ways for unauthorized individuals to steal sensitive information. From Equifax to the United States government, Digital Guardian reports that many websites and major organizations have experienced thousands of security breaches and other related incidents over the past couple of years. Some common scenarios include website hacks, credit card theft, or companies accidentally releasing proprietary or personal information.

Unfortunately, there’s no 100% foolproof way to prevent hackers, credit card theft, or data loss. However, investing in a DLP plan can help protect sensitive data while complying with the latest cybersecurity regulations. Even in a worst-case scenario, the right DLP plan will save you money on legal fees and data recovery.

It’s your responsibility as an ethical business owner to do the right thing. By making your website and point of sale systems as secure as possible, you’ll protect your customers’ information and your business reputation. 

Business Apps

Whatever your business goal is, chances are there’s an app for that. Even better news: many apps are free or low-cost, even for small business accounts. Here are a few business apps that could pay for themselves thanks to the time and money they’ll save you:

  • Scheduling apps like Acquity and Calendly can improve efficiency when it comes to scheduling meetings. Colleagues or clients can easily choose their desired date and time. Best of all, everyone automatically receives email meeting confirmations and reminders.
  • Web conferencing apps eliminate the need for in-person meetings while still allowing you to get some face-to-face time from afar. Several companies, including Zoom, Skype, Google, and GoToMeeting, offer a variety of free and paid plans to suit any budget.
  • Time tracking apps like Toggl or Timely take the guesswork out of tracking hours worked. Instead of decreasing productivity by manually updating timesheets, look for an affordable app to manage it all for you. The right app should accommodate your entire team, offer mobile components, and backup all timesheets.

Quality and pricing vary, so research app comparisons before choosing one.

Human Resources

Businesses frequently run into problems or bottlenecks when scaling. As companies grow, they often need additional human resources assistance. To save time and money, BambooHR, Zenefits and other companies provide virtual or AI-based human resources services in Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) applications.

According to The Balance, these apps are worth the money because HR tasks are “a major time-suck for a growing company.” HR apps could help your startup or small business track employee benefits, recruit candidates, or screen applicants.

Some entrepreneurs worry they can’t afford the latest tech. However, using outdated tech costs more money than it saves. Sure, you might spend money up front. In the long run, you’ll boost ROI while staying safe and legal. It’s a proven way to grow while building loyal customers for years to come.