We all know that small businesses need to be able to do a lot with a little. So, it’s very important to ensure the technology needs of your organisation are met.
The technology ecosystem of a small business really underpins the whole company’s operations and outputs. This covers from simply being able to work effectively day-to-day on computer and mobile systems to maintaining communication channels with customers, clients, stakeholders and more. Having a functioning IT infrastructure that meets the demands of the company can be make-or-break for most small businesses.
This is even more important as the need to be able to service customers’ online increases. Having a strong online presence and a user friendly experience is becoming as important to the bottom line as your product or service.
Having a brains-trust within your business who knows how to navigate all of these kinds of decisions and considerations is a tough task for any small business. However, getting your IT systems right in the first place is one key element to getting ahead.
National RTO Manager at Registered Training Organisation (RTO) Upskilled, Michael Williams says, “Small businesses have similar ICT requirements that Large Enterprises have but without the large ICT budget that goes along with it. Data access and data protection are the same regardless of the size of the business.”
His best advice? “Don’t try to do it yourself. Usually the decision makers are the owners of the business who could be quite IT savvy but, this is not what they are best at. You set up the business and it needs you to steer it and run it, not have your head in a computer or on the phone with support trying to get things working, you will just lose focus,” he adds.
That’s why both preparation and after-service should be maintained by either someone employed by your small business or by a professional third party.
When setting up your small business, also think about all the IT considerations you may need to make now and in the future. Consider how you’ll work most days and how you’ll best serve customers. Will this be face-to-face, online or over the phone? Purchase reliable hardware and use trusted software. It may be a significant investment but in this case spending upfront will save you money in the long run.
Of course, while having an in-house ‘IT mind’ helps, their skills and knowledge may not cover everything they need to know to meet the business’s needs. Upskilling that worker regularly is a great idea because the upfront investment may be a better return than outsourcing.
Williams continues, “When a business does not have a permanent ‘IT Guru’ on staff they are left to make critical decisions about ICT infrastructure on their own.”
Ensure the employee/s who are responsible for your companies IT functions are well equipped to handle any situation. It will become obvious very quickly if they aren’t. Perhaps your current IT team player is well versed in a host of skills but is lacking in other areas and can’t quite meet niche needs in your IT ecosystem. Providing staff with further training and education is always going to be a good option. You’ll find enhancing their capabilities will also enhance the productivity of the company as a whole.
Engaging an IT support company is also a good option to consider. Williams adds, “Find a specialist Small Business ICT Support Company to do this work for you. Yes, it will cost a few bucks. However, it will be well worth it when you are able to spend your time completing ta critical tender or quoting the next job to keep revenue coming in. Don’t just grab any company, talk to a couple of them and get references and talk to those people.”
With lots to consider when starting, or running, a small business, make sure your IT department doesn’t suffer from oversight. Dedicate some time and resources to really setting the IT functions of your company in place and both your you small business will be sure to benefit for a long time to come.
This article was brought to you by Upskilled. Qualify for Tomorrow with Upskilled. For more information on Upskilled and their upcoming courses, visit www.upskilled.edu.au or call 1300 009 924.