In previous articles, we have discussed some of the ways in which small businesses can improve the way they manage their finances (using accounting software). In this article, let’s turn our attention to how to easily find IT support for small businesses.
Here are some ideas on what to look for when you plan to receive IT support.
What is your budget? If you don’t have a budget, then you can’t afford it. If you have just a little money but not much, then it’s still good to know what your budget is and how much you can afford to spend.
Do your priorities match those of the product support team? When we say “product support” we mean any form of technical help or customer service. So if your priority is “customer service” or “product documentation”, then this is where you should spend your money. If your priority is “development tools” or “business process management”, then this is where you should spend your money.
There are many different kinds of product support: for example, if you want software for running business processes or web apps, then perhaps an agent will help you install that software on your computer; if you want software that helps with writing documents and Excel spreadsheets, however, then maybe an experienced developer will do that for you; and so on. So one way to judge whether a product supports business process management (or whatever) better than another is by looking at what people like best about IT (people write reviews here).
Are there other people who sell something similar and have similar capabilities? For example would one person be better than another at providing me IT support? Could I get more than one person doing it? But even more importantly: could I get someone who actually knows what they’re doing at low cost?
The goal in choosing vendors is not just finding someone who offers good prices — but finding someone who offers good services with good prices too!
The importance of IT support for small businesses
The main point of this post is to share some of the research I’ve done recently on IT support for small businesses. This research was conducted in collaboration with a number of researchers from around the world, and we expect to add more results in the future as our team continues to do further research.
When I wrote about IT support for small businesses a few years ago, I spoke about “it”: in other words, the product itself. But there is another thing that many small business owners want support for that is far less tangible — “it” refers to how the product is being used, and how well IT maps to their needs.
The Internet has made it easier than ever for people to communicate with each other; and it has also made IT easier than ever to get feedback on products (or services) they use. It can be difficult, however, if people are not sure what they are talking about when they send out messages or comments.
To summarise what I believe are important learnings from our research — which applies equally well today as it did five years ago when we started out investigating IT support for small businesses.
The benefits of IT support for your business
It is easy to get caught up in the hype and rush of launching your startup, and then trying to figure out what IT you actually need. Thankfully, you can always rely on us for a detailed explanation of what you’re supposed to do, and how we would help with that in this post.
The first thing we’d like to do is offer some trade secrets of our own:
- You don’t need a million dollars.
- You don’t need a large marketing budget.
- You don’t need a large business model or an existing product line.
- You don’t need an existing distribution channel (like Apple) either.
But if you do have one or more of these things (or even if you just have the money), then we can help turn them into actionable strategies: the kind that will change your life — ones that are ready for implementation even before you launch.
How to find the right IT support for small businesses
When you are a small business you can’t afford to spend a lot on your IT support. There are some things that you can afford to do (even if they may not be the most effective), such as hiring excellent staff and buying the best equipment on which to run your business, but other things may be more expensive and less effective. You need to determine what is important for your business and how much IT costs.
It doesn’t matter how small or large your business is, some things should be considered as a minimum for supporting it:
- One of each of these should be in place:
- A phone with an internet connection (at least for online sales calls)
- An email account with a dedicated server
- A domain name with technical support from someone who has experience with IT (I have written about this topic before)
I hope that helps. Please let us know if you have any questions or comment below. Thanks and have a great day!
The different types of IT support for small businesses
Let me start this post by stating that everyone has a different idea of what “IT support” even means.
I’m here to tell you IT means something different for everyone. It usually means the right people and resources are available to support your small business.
What is IT support?
You’ve probably heard the term “it support.” It can be an elusive concept, because there is no single definition of what IT support even looks like!
IT Support is sometimes referred to as IT consulting, this one can involve many different types of help such as system design (which might include remote whiteboarding), partner software installation and configuration, software testing (including client-side unit testing), etc… Customer Service -This one needs no explanation – the name kind of implies it.
There are three major factors that need to be considered before you select a provider: cost, convenience and quality of experience (QE).
Let’s start with cost first. As we’ve mentioned before, there are plenty of services out there claiming to help you find IT support, but most of them don’t offer any real value for your money or make you feel at all like getting something for nothing. Why? Because most of them are too expensive (and therefore look like rip-offs) or difficult (and therefore not worth your time).
Given those two considerations alone, there are plenty of providers out there offering the same services as well as quite reasonable prices. We won’t go into details on pricing here, since everyone has different expectations around price and different criteria when IT comes to choosing a provider; but if you want to know more about this, check out our post on pricing: What is the best price for me?
The next issue is convenience and QE; when it comes to finding IT support for small businesses such as yours, these factors matter less than their importance in other situations such as finding healthcare insurance or mortgage quotes which require detailed analysis and multiple rounds of approval by various departments at each step along the way. That said, they still need proper attention – so here’s what we have in mind:
Consistency & Convenience: What do people tend to do when they’re looking for something like this? They usually try one service after another until they find something they like. This makes sense because people work better if things are predictable rather than continuously changing from day-to-day – which is precisely why many entrepreneurs rely heavily on IT systems in their businesses (they allow them predictability). It also makes sense because consistency provides strong evidence that things will continue working as intended without fail without having to think about how things work if changes were made; hence creating an easier environment for business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning. If only all
Conclusion: IT support is essential for small businesses
When you ask someone to provide IT support for small businesses, it is usually because they have made a commitment of some kind — either time, money or something else. A commitment (or “contract”) makes it easier to do things. It gives the other person an obligation to complete your task or service before they get paid.
Think about these things in terms of financial obligations: who has received what? Who has given it? And how much did each give/receive? There is also a third way people can enter into commercial agreements with each other: as co-owners… and all of these options have their own costs and benefits.
The different approaches have different levels of difficulty and complexity, so understanding the differences between them is important if you want to consider one or more options.