How do you make your small business IT support better?
Share your tips on improving IT support in a small business.
In a small business, it is usually not financially possible to have a full-time IT support staff member. Sometimes a small business may be lucky and one of the members of their staff is tech savvy and thus becomes the unofficial IT support person. Even with a tech savvy support staff member, there are still occasions when problems occur that require more specialised help.
There are options to sign up with computer support businesses and pay a monthly fee. This is probably worthwhile if you have a network and say around 10+ employees. However, if your business is smaller it is probably not worth the cost.
In this last instance, you are probably better off calling in your local computer repair business. If you build a relationship over time with such a small business as your own, they will become familiar with your IT system and needs and be very efficient in solving problems for you - and at a reasonable cost - and only when you actually require assistance. Many small businesses rely on computer repair busineses for their IT support - and once you have found the right computer repair technicians then this is the most cost-effective solution.
As the other answers have mentioned, it’s not always financially reasonable for a small business to employ an IT person, or pay for ongoing IT services.
Having said this, these days our technology is often at the heart of how we work, and losing access (or speed) can quickly and dramatically impact business. Therefore spending some money on IT services is likely to be a sound investment.
Other than employing an IT person or paying for regular/ ongoing services, here are a couple more ideas:
- Make it part of someone’s job description - if there’s someone on your team who is technically-savvy, make it part of their role (and performance criteria) to manage your IT systems. This might mean they personally manage what they can, but wherever necessary they get help/ pay for support. Note the importance of being proactive - maintain technology to avoid major breakdowns.
- Have an outsource on standby - research some companies and/ or freelancers and choose one as your point of contact if you need support. Make contact with them, provide any info they need to have on file for you, then let it go until you need IT services.
- Invest upfront in good quality infrastructure and setup - whenever you buy new technology or infrastructure, pay what you need to in order to ensure it’s the best quality for what you can afford. If appropriate, spend time getting it set up/ doing tutorials etc to understand how it works and give it the best chance to operate sustainably.
I hope these ideas are helpful.
Small Business IT Support is made better by the IT support provider taking a proactive stance. Preventative maintenance and proactive support gives your business peace of mind that you know what the bill is going to be.
If you're working with local repair businesses and something breaks, they come out, fix it, charge you and go away. If the same thing breaks again next week, you might be up for further costs.
With proactive and managed IT support, the fixed monthly cost covers all your IT needs - both core IT supplies such as email, software and antivirus packages and ongoing support, with a proactive stance.
When the provider takes a proactive stance, it's much better for them to be finding, understanding and resolving the root cause which is impacting your business continually.
Hi Andrew, you make a good case for monthly support packages for small businesses. I guess it comes down to just how small the business is and whether they can afford a monthly IT support - which is overall often a better solution I agree for small businesses as long as the can afford the monthly fee.
I completely agree with the three points you made above - in particular, the last two. The third point really leads into the second point. It is often a really good idea for a small business to obtain input into what quality infrastructure and setup is best for their business. If they obtain advice on this and have an IT contractor/external business/internal support person setting that up, then if there are problems these people are knowledgable about the systems and the solutions should be quick - or at least a lot quicker than calling in someone not familiar with their system.
I agree that technology is vitally important and we are now going to more seriously look into offering support services to small businesses around us here in Brisbane.