Outsourcing is often seen as the key to innovation and growth for small businesses. Whatever the type of business, the entrepreneur who started it most likely did not intend to spend increasing amounts of time looking after printers, buying laptops and checking wages. So, when is it a good idea for a small business to outsource their IT support, and should they do it at all?
A small business owner may not have noticed over the years how much time they spend on making sure everyone’s IT is working so that they can do their job. It can happen slowly and gradually to the point where there may be a mental, or actual, list of things you need to sort out that starts to take over. If you wake up knowing you are going to get harassed again by an employee with a dodgy printer, or problems with connectivity, then that might be a sign you need help.
Your headspace for running your business only goes so far. Spending time online sourcing equipment and reassuring employees over processes and systems is going to take your time away from the reasons you went into business in the first place. Look at your time objectively and make a judgement whether your single-handed IT support is taking up too much valuable energy.
You may be concerned about the costs of outsourcing your IT support, even though you know that outsourcing is not entirely about saving money. Small businesses provide valuable jobs and are crucial to a healthy economy. Not particularly comforting facts to you personally when you’re concerned about your bottom line.
But have you added up the cost of your time spent online reading reviews of sourcing equipment, unpacking it and then setting it up, with perhaps the added worry that you are potentially not installing the best IT equipment for the job?
Providers of outsourced IT support, just like other providers of commonly outsourced services like admin, accountancy, content writing and HR, are very well aware of your concern over cost and have painstakingly worked out the most cost-effective models they can in order to make it a viable proposition for you. Sensible providers of IT support will have varying models of cost, including so many hours a month, or pay-as-you-go options; and should work with you to find a model of support that meets your needs.
Do you dread handing over crucial parts of your operation to an outsider who knows nothing about the intricacies you deal with and your journey to date? How do you know they’ll do a good job and work to your best interests at all times? In short - can you trust them?
It can be hard to let aspects of your business go and hand over the control to someone else. And no one advocates that you just do this without vetting your supplier thoroughly, even though the freedom it may bring you to take your business to the next level may be the best thing you can ever do.
It’s not so simple to just ‘find an IT support provider’. The internet might be stuffed with adverts for IT support providers all claiming to be the best at what they do, but who should you pick? You need to put some time in here and do your research. Look at their credentials, reviews, accreditations and commitment to their customers’ service level agreements. How do they conduct themselves with you during an initial chat? Do you get the feeling they are sincere, and the type of people you could work with? Will they tie you in to lengthy contracts?
There are many factors to consider when it comes to outsourcing your IT support as a small business. A good provider will understand every single one of them, your concerns about cost and trust and your need to save time, and cost in the long run. If time, and the cost of that time, are running away with you then it really could be time to outsource your IT support. Find an IT support provider you can really trust and the value they will bring to your business will make it all worthwhile.
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