Small and large enterprises that rely on technology have many similar needs. They rely on Internet, computers, on-site or cloud based servers, social media, websites, email, VoIP phones, IP cameras, IP door locks, music, and more. Small businesses may not have the multi-user challenges or red tape that large corporations have but they are still in need of high quality, reliable, and secure communication. How can these smaller businesses minimize their costs and still have the reliable and secure technology equipment and services they need to be effective? They can start with the 5 tips 30A.it created to help small businesses with IT.
Tip 1: Look Toward Managed IT Services.
Managed services are a way of outsourcing key functions of the business to qualified individuals or companies to reduce overhead, bring in expertise in a particular area, and free up time to focus on other things. Managed IT services means hiring an IT company to provide the core IT functions of your business. Search for an IT company that takes time to get to know the business stakeholders, staff, business processes, and work with you as a partner. Find a company with integrity, and honesty. If you find the right IT company to partner with, they will not limit you from achieving other business goals.
Tip 2: Use Social Media Creatively.
Consider hiring someone to do this for you. For the little $$ that is costs to have a company post pertinent information for you, you can save a lot of time focusing on what you do best, and have a creative and efficiently run campaign. It might even be more effective because now you’ve hired someone who is experienced in everything “social”. Social media should be informative and fun. Have a staff member try setting up a free account on any of the popular platforms like Facebook and begin adding imaginative, informative and engaging content. These services are free so spend as much time as you want, but don’t let it get out of hand. Too many posts can be obnoxious whereas too few can leave followers forgetting about your company. Add your contacts and encourage others to join in. Be sure to like and share 30A.it’s Facebook page! Oh, and another thing to keep in mind – don’t sign up for too many social media sites. It’s better to focus on one with high quality entries then try to keep track of many logins and post to all. If you really want to do something like that, then it’s tricky, but you can sign up for a service that auto-posts. My recommendation is to hire for the task if you go that far!
Tip 3: Put a Simple Backup Plan in Place, Breathe Deep, and Relax.
With a cloud backup system in place, business owners can sleep soundly knowing things are backed up. Look to setup an account with an online backup provider or consult with your IT professional if you are unsure of what to choose. Make sure you document exactly what should be backed up (include specific file locations or folders). Then, to make things even easier, check the box that automates the backups daily and delivers an email to you for every successful or failed backup. It may take a little while for the first backup to occur so be patient. From here on out you can relax knowing things are backed up.
Tip 4: Use a Proven Cloud Email System Rather Than a “Free” or Cheap Add-On.
Most businesses need email, and most can’t live without it. They buy a domain name and then see a link for free email or cheap Office 365 plan. Cheap is cheap. Why not pay a little more than “free” and buy a few licenses for Microsoft Office 365? Or, if you prefer, you can go the Google route and sign up for Google Apps for Business. Both of those services are reliable. Though they differ drastically with security measures, you will be able to send and receive consistently. If you are a non-profit, you may even qualify for these same high-quality services at no charge. Then, when sending you can be sure the person will receive the message quickly and you will have the support and features that enterprise businesses have too!
Tip 5: Buy through Your IT Company and Save Money.
Next time you buy hardware, software, licenses, support or anything IT related be sure to ask your IT company before you purchase anything. Most of the time your IT company can get favorable pricing for you on IT related items. Your IT provider is likely buying hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars worth in technology each year for their clients. If you want the best chance of getting value for your dollar then look to your IT provider. Additionally, buying via your IT company, you will have a better chance at getting a higher quality or more relative items to meet your specific needs.
Author: David Cochrane, Owner 30A.it
Microsoft Certified Professional, CompTIA Network+
For more tips on helping your small business with IT please contact 30A.it. 30A.it allows its clients to focus on what they do best while we focus on assuring their technology solutions are reliable, secure and efficient.
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