Don’t buy cheap technology.
Many business owners make the error of thinking too small. Many business owners see amazing deals at their local big-box computer shop and decide to take advantage of them. You think that sounds great, right? Wrong!
Trust me. I’ve been working in IT for more than 15 years, specifically with small businesses. I can tell you that buying cheap computers, routers, and wireless equipment is a bad idea. Although it may appear that you are saving money upfront, the frustrations, productivity loss, and IT support costs you will face down the line are far more costly than the savings you make.
These computers are cheap, and the local tech company will cost twice as much. There are two types of technology: commercial and consumer. Nearly all the technology you will find in big box stores is consumer-grade and not intended for busy offices.
This is your business! Would you choose to build a new house with the best quality materials?
Your IT support can be outsourced.
Although this may seem expensive, if your business is severe, you will want to dedicate all your time to it. It’s not a good idea to have to learn how to fix software bugs or set up your company server. You can leave this to the professionals so that you can concentrate on what you do that makes you money.
Technology support companies that are reputable (not a Geek Squad from your local big-box store) will evaluate your needs and offer solutions to help you save money over the long term. They will be your one-stop technology support company for all your IT requirements.
Do what you love best: drive customers and revenue to your business. Technology can be a headache.
A managed service plan is an option.
A managed service plan may be offered by the technology company that supports your business. A managed service plan will usually include all of your IT support requirements and hardware for a single monthly fee. This will give you a monthly budget that is predictable.
You need to carefully review their offerings. These are the questions to ask:
What is the maximum number of hours per month included?
Which hardware, if any, is included?
Are after-hours and weekend support available?
Do projects include new server installations?
Does the new hardware I buy come with it?
Is there a penalty for canceling the agreement?
These questions can make the difference between losing and saving money. This is an excellent way of reducing your IT support costs if done correctly. Keep in mind that your monthly fee will never change, even if everything is running smoothly. This can make it difficult to understand why you are paying so much each month.
One point of contact
It can help you reduce your IT support costs by having your IT issues routed to an internal person at your office before you call your tech company.
One of the issues that I witnessed at a client’s office was a problem with their server. The problem started to affect different staff members at other times. Each member of the 30 affected staff would call us to help them.
It may take several calls before your tech company realizes these calls are related and begins to look at more extensive network or server issues. You will likely be charged for this time, or they may take it from your hours.
You would have one point of contact in your office for all IT support issues. This would mean that there would be only one call to your tech support team. Your internal point would notice a common thread among all calls.
This will save you money and help your tech company find the problem quicker, which is a win-win situation.
Hiring someone with technical skills
This is something that not many business owners think about. Hiring someone with a good knowledge of technology and computers can help you save significant amounts on your IT expenses. You could also hire someone with the right skills to fill the job, or you could create a hybrid role.
This person could be the single point of contact I mentioned earlier and also handle the lower levels of IT needs. It would be great if you could find someone who is proficient in Microsoft Office products. Many tech companies don’t have the necessary skills.