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Is Cash Flow Holding Your Technology Back?

At first glance, some small businesses are caught in a technology paradox: They need modern technologies to drive revenue higher. But they don't have enough cash to acquire that technology.

A recent American Express survey found that more than half of today's U.S. small business owners are experiencing cash flow problems, reports As a result, the top priority for most small businesses is maintaining current sources of revenue -- rather than building new ones.

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
I say: Why not pursue both goals? Fact is, you don't need very deep pockets to leverage modern technology. What you really need is a predictable cost structure -- a way to know exactly how you're going to continue innovating without suffering from surprise IT costs.

By now, you likely know where I'm heading: Predictable managed services contracts can help many of those worried small business owners get a handle on their IT costs.

Our company, for instance, pays a flat monthly fee for e-newsletter marketing services from We use that service to launch new products, promote news or evangelize special offers to new target customers.

We're also learning to cut the hidden costs of business travel. One prime example: We used to pay hotel WiFi fees, which varied greatly from region to region. But now we're paying a flat monthly fee for Starbucks WiFi service, which is readily available in all the cities we visit. Also, we're thinking of shifting again, this time to a cellular Internet connections for our laptops.

Cash Flow Management Solutions
Those are pretty basic steps. But don't stop there. Look at every piece of your IT infrastructure -- applications, hardware, systems, etc., and determine if there's a managed alternative available for a predictable monthly fee.

Then communicate and innovate with minimal impact on your monthly cash flow.