Two Critical IT Steps for Small Businesses
“A man to carry on a successful business must have imagination. He must see things in a vision, a dream of the whole thing,” so said American steel magnate Charles M. Schwab. Schwab’s sage advice is especially true for the modern entrepreneur. While planning for and developing a profitable, growing business is a complex, ongoing process, adequate planning, attention to details, and realistic expectations are critical to your success. One of the most important areas that today’s businesses need to focus attention on is their Information Technology needs.
Most small businesses don't have the luxury of assigning a single person or setting up a department to oversee their Information Technology needs. The result is that Information Technology management for small businesses is often a piecemeal affair, ignored until something goes wrong with the equipment or another piece of equipment needs to be purchased. So what can the modern entrepreneur do to make sure he is looking at his business with the whole picture in mind?
1. Secure your business data.
Losing business data is an unfortunate fact of life for many small companies. The truth is computers die, hard drives crash and laptops and Blackberries and Smartphones get stolen. The first rule of Information Technology management is that one copy of business data is never enough; you have to secure your business data by backing it up.
The first thing you need to do to shape up your Information Technology management is to establish a regular and effective data backup regime. Ensure you secure cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solutions for data and email, so your business will be prepared for any contingency.
First you need to establish what business data is critical to your business and needs to be backed up? For most small businesses, the most critical data is data relating to:
- Customer contacts
- Intellectual property
Your small business may have other types of data that also needs to be backed up. Basically, if losing the electronic data would cause you grief, back it up.
2. Manage your business data.
Business data needs to be two things; organized and accessible. At an absolute minimum, you need to have a database of customer records of some kind, which you need to keep complete and updated. Better than that is having an application that not only lets you record customer data but do things with it, such as track customer sales and preferences, create and track marketing campaigns, and track sales leads as they develop. If a company has a lean IT Department or none at all, explore companies with managed service plans. They can help you have peace of mind knowing that your network is secure monitored around the clock. It also makes it easier to manage and budget monthly IT requirements. The services can be purchased individually or as a bundled package.
What if you need to add more servers or resources? Cloud Hosting allows you to pay only for what you need. Cloud hosting is flexible and adaptive to changes so the business owner can focus on growing business.
These are just a couple of key elements small businesses need to keep in mind when thinking of their IT needs, every company is different, so really think what you need now and down the road.