This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
$1 buys you full access to ALL of TheStreet's Subscription Services! Learn More

Does Your Business Need an iPhone 5? Really?

Stocks in this article: AAPL

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. ( MainStreet) -- One of the toughest financial controls an organization can put in place is evaluating expenditures in terms of need -- for instance, if you can't do business without it -- versus want, which are those things that are nice to have, fun to have and may make life easier, but won't stop us from doing our jobs if we don't have them.

We live in a time in which technology, tools, products and services change "versions" with increasing rapidity. Take the iPhone. The sixth generation of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, the iPhone 5, was released Friday. It's hard to believe it's been only five years since the first one was introduced in January 2007 (although it went on sale in June). The 3G version came on the market in July 2008. The fourth generation phone was released June 2010. The fifth generation (the iPhone 4s, with Siri) came in October. The technology leaps between each of these devices is pretty amazing.

When it comes to business, the reality is that the faster and more efficiently you can operate, the better your performance is. If you are "connected" via technology and your client can reach you for an important matter -- say, to order a product or to address a quality issue -- being reachable 24/7/365 via email or phone is important. The question, though, becomes if that "connectivity" need translates into a constant evolution of technology. Your entire sales and executive team may want the latest and greatest iPhone, but do they really need the upgrade?

Please note that I am not saying anything for or against Apple, the iPhone or any other product or service. But when evaluating whether you and your employees need the newest version, you have to step back and look not at what we want but what will enable you to do better business.

Every dollar we spend is a dollar we must earn. If it will not save us time and money then we have to be willing to say "no."

It can be disastrous for a business to spend money needlessly. Many a business has spent on wants and nice-to-haves, only to find there is no money left for the must-haves. Several years ago I met with owners of a small business that was at a significant growth point. They needed some core infrastructure put in place: computers, employees and physical space. One of the two owners began the meeting telling me about this "great deal" he had gotten on a piece of equipment that would be used to serve the customer -- a $75,000 piece of equipment that was a bargain at $50,000.

It was indeed a bargain ... if they had needed the capacity. But they didn't.

And $50,000 was not an insignificant amount in the budget -- in fact, that $50,000 would have paid for all the computer equipment and one additional person's salary and benefits.

The company's owners bought something they "wanted" because it was good deal. What they needed, and ultimately were not able to acquire, were computers and a staff member. This decision translated into lost customers. They had the capacity in technology to provide services but did not have the capacity in staff to schedule, bill and provide customer service after the sale and job was done.

Personally, I want a number of the latest greatest and coolest pieces of technology, and I often indulge my desires for them, but what ultimately determines if I will be in the Apple store buying the iPhone 5 in the near future? The cost of ownership (including data plans, etc.) and how the technology will make doing business easier and more efficient. The bottom line is: Will having the newest gadget enable me to do better for my customers?

If you see me with an iPhone 5 (or any other smartphone, for that matter) in the near future, you will know that the return on investment translated into a need to do business better, not simply because I "wanted" one.

Lea Strickland, M.B.A., is the founder of Technovation Entrepreneur , a program that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into businesses. Strickland is the author of "Out of the Cubicle and Into Business" and "One Great Idea!" She has more than 20 years of experience in operational leadership in Fortune 500 and Global 100 companies, including Ford, Solectron and Newell.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,828.24 +0.49 0.00%
S&P 500 2,067.56 -5.27 -0.25%
NASDAQ 4,791.63 +4.3130 0.09%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs