The most notable challenge of any small business tends to be money. You have a million and one things you want to achieve, and the revenue streams for about 12 of them. You often think (or say) “If we had the money of our enterprise competitors, we’d be dominating…” (Or some variation thereof.) Start-ups in several industries are actually fairly good at finding customers, which is usually the other big challenge. But for many, money remains the paramount issue.
Of course, the flip side of all this is that there are certain business functions you cannot do on the cheap. If you get a low-grade CRM, you’ll have a lot of problems that could have been solved with a higher-end, more customizable option. If you use a back-end CMS for your website that no one has ever heard of, it’ll be much harder to get service and troubleshooting for it.
Another issue where you don’t ever want to cut corners is ECM, or enterprise content management — essentially, digital data/file storage, organization, and security. One of the biggest revenue hits this is commonly tied to is data loss, which has utterly bankrupted some companies within a year of the event happening. On a day-to-day basis, though, you need logical organization of your data, files, information, and more … but your CFO probably doesn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on this, correct?
One of your best bets in this context is lease to purchase, and here’s why.
Software as a service, or SaaS, is a common option for small businesses. Because many SaaS platforms live in the cloud, costs are cheaper — there’s less overhead for the company running the SaaS platform. SMBs tend to love cheaper costs, but … lo and behold … there is a concern with SaaS platforms. In those situations, you usually don’t own the software and you also don’t own the storage location of your documents.
In a lease to purchase option with an enterprise content management system, though, you solve a lot of these problems:
- You pay a small monthly fee for a set duration
- At the end of that duration, you own the software
- The smaller monthly fees are easier to fit into operational budgets
- Your financial planning is made easier
The good thing about ECM platforms is that you can usually see ROI from Day 1 or 2. The greater return on your investment will come over time, and in increasing gains. At the beginning, it’s in the form of office space opening up, and file organization.
With such fast returns, you’ll see that not only that lease-to-purchase fits your budget, it also increases your budgets for other assets. This frees up cash to spend on the system itself too, purchasing additional features and modules or integrating with your industry-specific solutions.
Embrace lease to purchase options. It’s the best of both worlds: smaller payments and you own the software you’re buying. What’s more, you will start to see value in a lease-to-purchase ECM long before your lease is up.