4 Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Your Business
As a Managed Services Provider, we meet a lot of business owners who are unhappy with how their technology has taken shape over the years. They feel their IT investments never really yielded the kind of returns they expected, and they come to us looking to change that trend. When analyzing the reasons behind their IT investment frustrations, we have come across these common tech mistakes most often.
See if any of these examples resonate with you, and learn from what others have already been through.
Common Mistake #1: Leaving IT for Last
This may be the number 1 mistake small and medium-sized businesses make. And it’s easy to understand why. When you’re starting a business, you’re focused on your product, reaching an audience, trying to build something out of nothing. You’re typically limited on capital and trying to bootstrap everything you can. What money you have gets invested in marketing, inventory, and sales. And all too often, any IT expenses are viewed as a cost-center, the have-tos, a drain. You think you don’t need security because you’re just getting started, that you’re too small to be a target. Myth #1.
Common Mistake #2: Choosing “Trendy” Technology
Once you’re willing to invest in your business technology, it’s important to choose what will work best for you rather than what everyone’s talking about today. Take that massive, supposedly unhackable server with a million terrabytes that will last you the life of your entire business. It sounds impressive, but do you even need a physical server? If your software is cloud-based, that’s going to be a wasted investment. Plus, it’s going to cost you more to manage, support, protect, and upgrade over that ‘lifetime.’ Not to mention that anything claiming to be ‘unhackable’ should make you immediately turn around and run.
To look at it another way, consider video conferencing. Over the past year, many businesses wouldn’t have been able to function without virtual meetings and remote sales calls. But before going out to buy the software and licensing for your 50-person team, taking the time to install it and train everyone, then making the necessary integrations with your website and marketing tools…it’s entirely possible that you already had this feature available in your existing technology stack.
Just as you would discuss spending options with your accountant, you should have a trusted advisor to help make sense of all the technology options out there.
Common Mistake #3: Buying Without Buy-In
As a business owner, you’re forced to make a lot of decisions. In the beginning, it can be faster and easier to do so because you may be the only employee or the only one impacted by one choice over another. As your business grows and you bring on more staff, however, different perspectives can factor in and should be considered.
You’re still the one in charge, but now you run the risk of making decisions that impact others…and getting pushback on those decisions. When it comes to the technology you use to run your business, you’ll see smoother adoption of new tools and policies when you get buy-in from the daily users of them.
Before implementing new programs or features, this buy-in can be in the form of surveys, one-on-one discussions, feedback requested during meetings, and more. With policies, it can be helpful to prepare staff for changes, explain the reasoning behind them, and then show leadership compliance and adoption. People will still have their own individual preferences, but your IT investment is more likely to succeed when there is understanding of the change.
Common Mistake #4: Stopping at the Surface
If you’ve ever heard of Shiny Object Syndrome, you’re halfway to understanding this common mistake.
“Entrepreneurs tend to be highly motivated. They crave new technology and new developments. And they aren’t afraid to start new projects and create new things.” (Source)
Those are positive characteristics. For the most part. They’re what got you to start your business in the first place. But when it comes to your business technology, investing in a new system or program but not using it to its fullest extent happens far too often and can be incredibly costly. It’s way too easy to keep getting new tools without fully taking advantage of the ones you already have, like the video conferencing example above. More programs with overlapping features can also bog down or break your processes. You may end up with various staff performing the same function using different tools, which will lead to inconsistent experiences for your customers.
Avoid this by ensuring your staff gets adequate training whenever new technology is implemented. You may also want to designate someone as champion. This can be someone within your company who tested the program or uses it heavily, makes sure everyone gets training, and signs up to receive updates on it. Or maybe your managed services provider can help you by creating a training ticket for all necessary staff and being available to answer questions.
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Information Technology is challenging. It’s constantly changing, and it can be overwhelming when you have to handle it all by yourself. It involves steep costs when you try to manage it in-house, whether that’s in dedicated salaries or spreading other employees too thin. Add to that the complexities of determining which IT investments will most benefit your business, training your team, and keeping everything working smoothly and protected…it’s a daunting proposition for anyone. And unless you’re weirdos like us, dealing with IT is not why you got into business.
So let us help.
An MSP has the experience and expertise you need in a trusted partner. We can help guide you through these challenges and help you make the most out of your IT investment. Click the link to learn more, or visit our Contact page to reach out.