If you’re a small business, you should be investing in your IT, not throwing money at it. For growing businesses, a risk here and there might pay off but don’t throw money at a good deal or a quick fix. You need to make wise investments in your business – not someone else’s.
IT expenses should be long-term investments and factor in hidden costs that lurk behind those attractive price tags. Scrimping in the wrong areas could not only cost you serious pounds in the long-term, but your reputation could take a hit too.
Read on for the true cost of ‘cheap’ when it comes to business IT for your SME:
That home broadband deal will let you down when it matters
Business-grade might sound like a fancy buzzword to justify charging more, but it is a meaningful term. A home broadband package won’t do if you want 99.9% uptime and fast problem-solving. Business broadband offers faster speeds, priority customer service, improved security and clear SLAs. When it comes to things like connectivity and customer service, you want business grade all the way.
“It’ll do for now” = replacing hardware every couple of years
If your outdated technology has a ‘knack to it’ like your grandparents’ oven, it’s working against you, not with you. You want technology that can scale with you and that doesn’t need costly fixes, upgrades or add-ons. And of course, if you’re buying second-hand or holding onto old laptops, you’ll likely be out of warranty and have no one to call when they pack in. Don’t splurge on brand new flashy laptops to look good. Think about what you need from your tech now and what you’ll very likely need from it in two to three years. Consider storage, processing speed and the software you might need to install. If you’re only thinking about your immediate email and office tools tasks, you’ll be upgrading sooner than necessary. When it comes to physical phones too, remember that VoIP systems like 3CX only need a web browser or a smartphone app. Work out your operational needs before you get sucked in by good deals and fancy sales pitches.
Personal use software = add-ons, limited functionality and an unprofessional look
Freemium packages hook you into a service, but don’t rely on the free personal-use option to run a business. In most cases, you won’t be get the full features, support or service you need. Imagine a Zoom call timing out after 40 minutes in the middle of a meeting. It’s not a professional look and you won’t be getting all the features. Free versions are free for a reason, often limiting users to the most basic aspects of the software. Good software investment saves future costs and workarounds. For business communications? We like Microsoft Teams. For data protection? Azure Information Protection (AIP). Check out our blogs on these to see if they could work for your business too.
Good advice helps you invest wisely in your IT
There’s nothing worse than spending money to fix a problem you could have prevented. You need more than the right attitude towards investment, you need the expertise too. Managed Service Providers can see how your systems, processes and infrastructure work together. They’ll show you where you’re doubling up and where you’re leaving gaps. It might be that configuring one piece of software to suit your business could save you running three with limited functionality. An MSP helps you connect the dots and avoid over-investment and firefighting down the line.
For new businesses, it takes a few years to understand how you operate. You can’t pre-empt needs until you’ve got to know your clients and your team. As your business culture evolves, so too will your technology and IT needs. Seeking professional expertise is the best way to invest in IT infrastructure and systems you can trust.
And finally… the Cloud TCO Iceberg
If you’re a small business, think about cloud hosting now, before it gets complicated and expensive. Public, private or hybrid, the right cloud model will save you costly fixes, loss of productivity and security holes. If you’re not on the cloud, download this Microsoft freebie, which shows you the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of keeping your ERP on-premise vs on the cloud.
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