It’s difficult to imagine any business today that does not readily rely on technology in any way, whether it be to reach out and educate potential clients and customers, enable employees, or to store crucial information. Technology is an integral part in the small business; but it’s also a oftentimes a challenge to decide what to invest in given the complex and constantly evolving nature of new products, platforms, and services. You need to be confident you know that you have the right hardware, software, and IT knowledge to do your work efficiently and securely considering the staggering and unexpected costs of a security breach or a system failure that could potentially drown your business. This is where it’s crucial to get IT technology right. There are at least four questions every small business owner should ask in order to successfully plan for your business’s current and future success in the marketplace.
1. What infrastructure do I have in place now?
What functionality do you have with your current infrastructure? Are you actually fully utilizing the current equipment you are paying for? Do you have the best/right software for your company’s needs? Importantly, is there an aspect or lack of your current technology solution hindering your businesses growth and stability or compromising its security? The very first step is to understand the right technical and infrastructural solutions for your business through a thorough review of your current IT structure and how it is functioning.
2. What vital essentials are missing?
Discover any needs your business has that are not currently being met. Are you losing time, productivity, and essentially money because of system crashes? Are your employees properly trained to use and operate the software you’ve invested in? Is your system secure against viruses and potential security exploits that make your business vulnerable? What would an actual security breach cost the business? By evaluating your employees, and asking about their day to day interactions with the technology in place, you can greatly help to expose any potential gaps in hardware or software that impact productivity.
3. How is my business going to change in the future?
Some of the best managers plan now rather than later for the future of their company, especially when in that future might require significant capital investment in hardware, software, and human capital. Being aware of how the IT needs of your business will have to change or scale in order to meet new demands can help drive decisions about your technology now, rather than rushing to catch up later on.
4. Who can I go to for help?
Many business owners are pleased to learn that they can get low-cost expert consultation on their IT. A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a company that contracts to handle IT solutions for small businesses.
The most vital service a MSP can provide is an expert assessment of the best possible solutions for a company’s IT needs. An initial consultation can help you identify whether your current IT solutions are serving your company well, whether it is properly secured, and how your IT needs might change and evolve as your company grows. The important thing to remember and consider is that simply establishing a relationship with an outside IT solution expert can be an invaluable resource in the event of a disaster. The last thing you want to do is try to create a relationship with an outsourced IT provider when you don’t have the time to accurately evaluate the needs of your business. Bad business decisions are made in times of crisis. The time to invest in a relationship that will protect the future of your business is now.