I speak with a lot of small businesses when they are in a period of growth. What was once a little startup or one-woman/man band is now hiring and expanding, getting more complex and demanding more of your attention and even more of your IT support services. You may be thinking about upgrading to a better location, expanding the team, or maybe you’ve just landed some big clients and projects.
Usually around this time there are a few niggles and warning signs that your IT environment isn’t coping. Staff might be complaining that their computers are too slow, your software is out of date or the internet speeds are painfully slow. And sharing files, working remotely and file structures are a total mess.
Taking your small business IT to the next level means making some smart investments. With all of the options available today, staying ahead of the pack and being up on new Mac technology, internet providers and gadgets can go a long way to improve the productivity and growth of your business.
So how do you find the best IT support for your small business?
It all starts with thinking about your objectives and where you want to go. Here are a few thought starters to help spark some ideas about the IT support you might need for your small business.
1. Hardware: how old are our Macs?
How old are your computers? It could be that your hardware is letting you down. Or, if you’re like many small businesses, it’s time you start looking at business-grade hardware. Find an IT support provider who is willing to audit your IT environment and give you an honest breakdown of what’s worth keeping versus upgrading versus purchasing new. Quick fixes like SSD upgrades can extend the shelf life of your Macs, while cloud servers can replace traditional servers.
2. Cloud services: do we need flexibility?
Flexible and remote workforces are the norm rather than the exception, and are only becoming more popular. If you know that you’ll have staff working from home or different locations around Australia, have a think about their daily tasks and what types of projects they’ll need to collaborate on.
We know that staff, executives and contractors want to work from everywhere – home, the office, cafes or at a clients. But is your IT system geared up for that? It may be that you need to consider cloud services for your business.
3. Security: how is our information stored?
If you’re struggling to answer that question, let me tell you this: in Australia, online scams (ransomware, malware, hacking and phishing) are on the increase. Scams are increasing by 31% year on year, and small businesses are being targeted.
Do you know how your team are storing their passwords? Not sure if your accounts are an easy target for hackers? Look for an IT support provider that can review your security processes and provide actionable advice on how to protect you information, assets and reputation.
4. Office move: how do we set ourselves up for success?
This is the holy grail for small businesses. Before you sign that five-year commercial lease, have a think about what you’ll need from your IT services. Your IT support provider should help you move office, assess the cabling required, work with your building and fit out teams, and negotiate competitive internet, phone and printer rates. Use your move to set your business up for success, because it can be costly to get it wrong and retrofit everything once you’re already in the building and contractually obligated. The trick here is early engagement with your IT provider to get the best possible outcome.
5. Onsite vs remote support: how much support time will we need?
Let’s face it – most small businesses don’t need full-time IT support. Using a combination of onsite and remote IT support, you can get attentive service without the price tag. A reputable Mac support provider can help you with training up 1-2 internal staff to manage the day-to-day IT environment (contracts, labour, simple IT troubleshooting). This can be a great way to get the best of both worlds and save on ongoing IT management costs. We often talk at The Mac Mechanic of ‘putting you in the driver’s seat’ – so look for an IT provider that is willing to give you full control and ownership of your IT environment. No-one wants to be held for ransom.
If any of this is ringing a bell, get in contact! As you might be able to tell, I love Macs and helping my clients take their small business IT to the next level.
Contact us for a chat – no obligation or strings attached, just good advice.