Hiring small business tech support services is one of the most important choices you’ll make in terms of technology damage control and ensuring your company is ready for the future. A lot of IT support services can troubleshoot and fix issues. However, is that really what you want to settle for today? Proactive IT support has the power to transform small businesses. We’ve seen it happen. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. If you or someone in your company did, you wouldn’t be reading articles like this to become better educated on finding the right IT support.
At Invision IT Support Kansas City, we put out fires and think of the bigger picture. Many of our long-time clients didn’t know what to expect when they hired our team, other than we’d give them valuable advice on purchasing hardware, recommend software, and come to the rescue when their email or system went down. These clients stay with us over the years because they’ve seen the difference proactive IT support has on their productivity, operations, and yes, their bottom line.
Before you invest in small business IT support, here are a few things to consider so you know it’s the right time and you’re going to hire the right team.
Who’s handling your IT support now?
Is it a tech-savvy employee who takes it on despite it not being his or her job description? Take a moment to review his or her primary function. How far from it is providing tech support? For example, if a salesperson is in the office working on IT support, he or she is not out selling. And, that is costing you money, especially if your IT issues seem to be a daily or weekly problem. Outsourcing your small business IT support frees your employees to focus on the jobs they were hired to do. It also means your employees have the functioning technology required to do the job well, which increases productivity and profit.
What are the immediate and long-term needs you’d like your tech support service to tackle?
When your small business has reached the point that it needs professional IT support, it’s likely that a list of short-term needs and long-term goals drove you to that decision.
If your short-term needs involve things like fixing software glitches, networks constantly going down, backing up data, or giving your staff remote access, an experienced IT support firm can pretty quickly resolve these.
If your long-term goals include future proofing your business with hardware and software that will support growth to the next level, you really need an IT support team with enterprise-level experience. Computers, servers, routers and printers are a significant financial investment. Your outsourced IT firm can guide you through the process by assessing your company, workflow, industry standards, user experience and more, plus help you prioritize your spending. Professional IT consultants also have access to custom-built solutions that perfectly fit your situation, which you cannot find at a big box store.
Partnering with an IT support firm that specializes in both means incremental steps are taken at the right time in context of your bigger goals. In other words, you’re building a strong technology foundation rather than rebuilding every time you want to incorporate new technology.
How are you going to budget for IT support?
Budgeting for your IT support is much like budgeting for other aspects of running your small business. There are hard costs you can forecast, and there are the unexpected expenses that you cannot.
Ongoing maintenance helps keep small business tech support costs under control by finding problems early. But even with regular maintenance, new threats emerge every day. The most careful employee can open a virus attachment. And hardware is equipment that can just stop working, like a car or air conditioner.
Count on your IT equipment to last five to seven years. Of course, there will be glitches, so your tech support budget should have some wiggle room to account for dropped laptops and such.
To avoid big, one-time expenditures, develop an upgrade schedule. Ideally, expect to replace:
- Servers every five years
- Workstations every five to six years (if you have several workstations, replace a certain number every so many years)
- Laptops every three to five years
- Printers and monitors when they stop working
- And/or when your business can benefit from upgraded technology
Include time for new equipment installation, setup and any necessary training in your budget.
How will you evaluate potential IT support firms?
Whether by referral or a Google search, you’ll find a few potential IT support firms to vet. Unless you need highly specialized tech support, then a firm that works with a wide variety of small businesses is your best bet. It means their IT experts have dealt with a broader range of issues and are likely to know the solution on based experience, not guesswork.
Gaining experience takes time. The IT field often is stereotyped as one for young people. It can be difficult to find an IT support firm in Kansas City that is older than a year or two. Invision opened in 2001 by two industry veterans, which indicates expertise and longevity.
Contact us whenever you’re looking for a tech support company for your small business.