Is it Time to Change the Way you Spend?admin
So, who likes to talk about (and set, keep track of and evaluate) budgets? Yeah, us either. It’s a necessary but stressful part of running a business. When it comes to technology spending, many small businesses either don’t have a budget or don’t break it out from the full operating budget.
Here are some signs that it’s time to look at IT budgets a little differently.
- You are in a Reactive Spending Model. This is very common. A computer, server, or any other piece of hardware breaks, and you get it fixed. You lose some data, you decide to start or change your backup procedures. You buy new equipment only when the old equipment is unrepairable. The biggest problem with this method is you are always playing catch up to the problems. You end up paying more for emergency repair times, new hardware installations and dealing with downtime throughout the process.
- Your budget for IT personnel has been cut, or you’ve lost your key IT Resources – your ‘IT guy’. People leave. Businesses downsize. Whether you have lost your key IT person inside, or your ‘IT Guy’ that is the neighbor of your cousin that knows a lot about computers decided to move, you’re feeling stuck. Depending on one person for your technology is no longer the way to effectively manage your business’s technology.
- Technology – or the lack of – is causing issues with your business and hindering your growth. The advances in technology – technology that’s available and cost-effective for SMALL Businesses – in the last 3 years is unbelievable. If you’re not taking advantage of them, it could be holding your business back more than you know.
- Shifts are happening in your business that will require new technologies. Whether its changes within your business – adding new locations, expanding your markets, and going more mobile – or outside influences like software companies changing the way they sell to you (Hello, Microsoft!) you’ve got to keep to with the changes in order for your business to thrive. We talked a lot about cloud solutions for a reason – they can really help a business be cost-effective and strategic.
If some of the information above rings a bell with you, you’re not alone! What’s even better is we have a few tips to help.
- Set a 3 Year budget. Now, this doesn’t have to be a ‘set-in-stone’, unchangeable budget. But having a long term plan for technology spending will help you decide what to spend now, and later. A 1 year budget doesn’t give you any room for the future, and a 5 year budget is too long (technology changes too fast for that!)
- Future Proof your Technology. Do your research when investing in large companies for big pieces of your business (such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc.) You don’t want to get trapped in a subscription model you can’t get out of or aren’t happy with. Same goes with hardware. Before you buy those cool new tablets, be sure how they will benefit your business and what the long term plan for them is. Look into cloud solutions and data backup before purchasing a new server or storage device.
- Your Business Goals should drive your IT Strategies and Budget. This is a big one. All roads should lead back to your business goals and work to achieve them. That means your business goals should be set first, and then your IT plans and budget gets wrapped into them.
- Know ALL your Costs. Keep in mind ALL your IT costs – not just new hardware. Licensing (Microsoft, virus software, backup software, etc.) and other soft costs (energy bills, downtime, maintenance, upgrades, and warranties) can blow your budget out of the water very quickly if they aren’t monitored.
Hopefully all of this information will help you for 2016 – but that’s also why we’re here! We can help you decide the best course of action for technology spending, and what works for your business. Contact us to get some help!