Often, small businesses start off with very few employees. This means initially that everyone needs to lend a helping hand in all areas of the business. This multi-tasking approach is fine short term but it will soon become evident that something like your IT infrastructure is so central to the success of your business that the services of an expert are required. At some point, the DIY approach isn't going to cut it.
We look at the reasons that small businesses need to invest in an IT expert.
1. You Can Achieve Big Things With Good Resources
People are an organisation’s most precious resource. This is particularly true in small businesses because many tasks need to be shared amongst few people. One way you can enhance the achievements of your staff is to ensure that they have effective and reliable IT systems within which to work.
2. IT is the Strong Arm of Business Activities
Most day-to-day business processes rely on correctly functioning IT systems. Time and therefore money is inevitably wasted when IT systems are unfit for purpose or fail. We would go so far as to suggest that an ongoing breakdown of IT infrastructure could cause major damage to a small business.
3. IT is a Lifeline
Online purchasing is set to increase. In the retail sector for example, the IBISWorld’s Online Shopping Market Research Report highlights the impressive growth of online shopping predicting that in the years to 2021/2022 industry value added will increase by 10.5%. Put simply, a business that can’t compete in the online shopping or online services environment is not going to get a look in.
As well as online shopping your customers are going to expect a myriad of user-friendly, IT based communication channels including websites, emails, social media and chat facilities. The future of marketing too will rely on well thought out and managed IT systems.
4. You Need Trustworthy Advice
For a small business, a mistake in an area as central as IT could be disastrous. It is obviously advisable to purchase reliable and systems compatible software and hardware but only an IT expert is qualified to ensure that you avoid being pressured into inappropriate purchases and see a desirable level of ROI. Michael Williams, the National RTO Manager of Upskilled comments on this,
“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.”
5. Budget Matters
Investing in an IT expert for your team may seem like an expense you can’t afford. However when you consider the measurable financial importance of an effective IT infrastructure, it might actually be the case that you can’t afford not to have one. Williams explains the budget issues for small businesses,
“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.”
Williams explains why it is a mistake for those running the business to take on responsibility for the IT as well,
“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.”
6. You Need to Future-Proof
Ensuring that your IT systems meet your current needs and are rigorously maintained is clearly important. However in the fast-moving worlds of online sales, marketing and customer relations, keeping ahead of the competition is vital to maintaining customer interest. It is only an IT expert who will be able to simultaneously analyse your current practices and keep an eye on the future software and hardware developments that might be pertinent to your needs.
7. Your IT Expert Needs to be Well-Equipped
You may already have an employee with levels of expertise in certain areas of IT but lacking in others. If this is the case, providing further training and qualification opportunities will represent an excellent return on investment. For the small business, training will need to be outsourced but with the wealth of online IT qualifications now available, training your IT guru need not be too disruptive to your day-to-day business.
Your small business will occupy most of your time and give you plenty to think about. By giving some quality time and allocating resources to ensuring that you have the right person, with the right qualification heading up your IT systems you will relieve yourself of some level of pressure and start to see your company running more smoothly and keeping ahead of the competition.
This article originally appeared on Kochies Business Builders and has been re-purposed with permission.
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