Regardless of what small business you run, you’ll need to have strong IT foundations. Basically, all aspects of your work will depend on a solid IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, choosing the best IT solutions for your business isn’t as simple as picking one service and using it. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ concept here. Every business is different, meaning your needs may be entirely different from another company.
The great news, especially for small businesses, is that SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms and cloud computing have made it incredibly affordable to run enterprise grade IT infrastructures which would otherwise only be available to large companies. That being said, there still a lot of choice on how to pick the right solutions for your business.
How do you find the best IT solutions for your business? It’s something that requires a lot of care and attention as you need to get it right. Choose the wrong solutions and your business will suffer. With that in mind, here are three tips to follow:
Set your goals and aims
What are the main aims and goals of your IT infrastructure? Think about the various tasks that you need to undertake every single day. Consider what your business will mainly be using the IT system for. This helps you understand what hardware you might need, what software your business can use, and so on. It also highlights the key areas of your IT set-up that demand the most attention or investment.
For example, if you’re an online business that solely relies on web traffic for sales, then you need to invest in a quality web hosting service, preferably a VPS (Virtual private network) or standalone server. You have to ensure that they never crash, meaning your site remains active all the time and helps you make sales. Other things to consider are redundancy system like backup servers, daily backups and keeping software and plugins up to date.
One area which often checks overlooked but can create a lot of headaches down the line is how compatible one piece of software or solution is (lets say your CRM) to other critical pieces (like your accounting software, your webshop and your email service provider). You definitely don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are forced to choose one piece of software over another, especially if you are already using it. Above all else, ensuring all the different solutions are working together offers other benefits, like increased automation and lower back office costs.
Consult with the experts
Needless to say, you may need some help determining what IT infrastructure works best for you. This is why it helps to speak with an IT consulting firm to understand the whole situation in more detail. IT consultants will go through everything with you and conduct a more thorough analysis of your business. They’ll see what areas of your IT set-up are more important than others. In essence, they help with everything from choosing the best software vendors to setting up cybersecurity measures. This will help you find the best IT solutions based on your goals and aims.
Factor in your budget
Lastly, you have to think about your IT budget. Now, this can differ massively depending on your business. A local business that relies on foot traffic will probably have a much lower IT budget than an online company. It all depends on what you do and how important IT is to your ongoing operations. This is perhaps the hardest thing to do as you need to try and work out how much money to devote to this area of your company.
Again, this is something that IT consultants might be able to help you with. Still, it’s important to create your own small business budget to understand how much money is at your disposal. You want to avoid situations where you spend too much money on your IT infrastructure and see hardly any gains from it.
Don’t underestimate the importance of an excellent IT network for your business. It can help speed up your daily processes, provide more security for your data, and allow you to do more tasks.