As a small business, your cash flow is strong and consistent and you're starting to think about where you might want to put money back into your company to help it grow. If you're still running on old technology you might want to consider an update; you might actually be hurting your productivity.

No matter how well you maintain your machines, eventually computers wear out. The average life expectancy for a PC or laptop is only two to three years at the most according to TechRepublic, with only just over 10 percent of them making it all the way to four years. That means if you're running on a machine much older than that, you've either been very lucky or you've seen a big slowdown in the way the computer runs. The Buffalo News reported that an average replacement costs around $500, and if the cost of repairing an existing computer is more than a third of a new one it might be best to scrap it and start fresh. Newer technology will not only better meet the needs of your employees and internal business processes, it will also enhance customer service through faster inventory and sales operations.

Robert Patterson of Progressive Computing points out that a business should be looking at what processes are most important to smooth and efficient operations and access the situation from there. If technology is so outdated it causes slowdowns and outages, that time can be counted as money lost for the company, so replacing it might be the best idea. Newer technology will allow other essential process to work better; online banking is easier to access and more secure with a newer machine and updated security software, and computers with less electrical usage will save money in operations. Creating mobile options will also give business more flexibility and be better able to serve customers, allowing you to review your inventory remotely or even giving employees portable POS devices to assist customers around the store.

Keeping your business flexible and competitive is key. Remember to weigh the costs and benefits of any big business expenditure but replacing outdated technology can help you better serve both your company and your clients.