Rent or possess? Borrow or buy? Loan or own? However you put it, these are questions we all have to answer at some point. If you run a business you will have to make even more of these kind of decisions on behalf of your company. Since the products available to businesses are constantly evolving, which is best? Many of the administrative needs, such as phone dialer services, computer equipment and computer software can be either bought outright or rented through subscriptions. To help you make the right call for your company, here are a few pros and cons to consider when weighing it up;
Ownership Pros – One cost for everyone. Once you have purchased your new laptop, for example, it is yours to use as you please. There are no hidden charges and you may let anyone else you trust enough to use it. It will become a company asset and be covered by your company’s insurance if the worst should ever happen. It also encourages responsibility and maybe even a little bit of pride.
Ownership Cons – The drawback to owning something is that it becomes slightly less adaptable. Without regular updates, equipment can quickly become out of date. There could also be expensive set-up costs, which you will have to find in order to get up and running. Any repair costs will be up to you, once it is out of warranty, and this could be expensive.
Subscription Pros – If you opt to subscribe to a product or service like an advanced telephone system or software package, there will be constant updates, and the latest advances will be easily available to you. On top of this, you will be able to spread the cost, and there will be support built into the package to help you with any problems that may arise.
Subscription Cons – Some people would rather avoid subscribing to a product, as they feel that they will be at mercy of provider. Others do not like to be tied into contracts as this inhibits their ability to adapt quickly to changing markets. There is also the risk that you may rush into committing to something you may not use, although most online subscription services offer a free trial period for you to test everything out.
From a personal point of view, and as a co founder of a start-up business, I believe that subscribing to products and services is the most cost-effective and practical way to go about organising your businesses and lay its administrative foundations. There are so many initial costs involved with setting up a business; if you can spread some of it out whilst still receiving and offering a great service – happy days. By signing up to services which help with the running of your business, you will be able to have professionals, who are experts in their field, look after that side of things, freeing up your time to do your job.
The world of technology is in constant flux, with software designers, computer developers and consumers driving the progression of products forever onwards and upwards. With social media and other channels of communication, the dialogue between provider and consumer has never been better. In my experience, the services that I have subscribed to are constantly upgrading, improving and tweaking their product and often offer new features that might be of use. It is easier to get a bespoke package that fits exactly with my requirements.
Another important aspect of the rental/subscription market is the environmental impact that ownership has on the finite resources on our planet. There is a new movement emerging that is trying to encourage people and businesses to rent and share and rethink what they actually need to own in order to ease the depleting materials needed to make all of the products. Many new businesses are starting up with their model entirely based on this new way of thinking.
Having said that, there is a certain satisfaction that comes with ownership. Having something physical to show for all of your hard work is what many of us strive for and is a good way of marking out your achievements.
Business Owners: Do you buy or subscribe to most of your services? Any examples?