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Top 5 IT Mistakes Small Businesses Make

By Michael Natter

is deceptively easy to see what the five top small business mistakes in IT
are. They are pervasive, recurring and everywhere!

Typical small businesses mistakes include:

  1. Not getting value for invested and spent IT dollars: Small
    businesses are constantly paying for lack of knowledge, hasty decisions,
    oversights, mistakes, choosing the wrong IT vendors, solutions, technology
    or even not taking a pro-active approach to technology, security etc. in
    their business dealings and day-to-day activities. That is, until it is either
    critical, a crisis erupts, or heaven forbid, it is almost unsalvageable or
    too late to do anything, data is lost or your business at risk!
  2. Spending money and precious IT dollars on the wrong things.
  3. Not spending on technology or not investing in upgrades or new equipment
    at all or when necessary:
    This might also entail, maybe even not
    knowing - investing in the wrong technology, or keeping the wrong technology,
    not investing or holding back to cut costs, in the short term. This leaves
    most business owners keeping their fingers crossed and leaving it up to random
    chance pretty much that the business and their IT 'strategy', or plan will
  4. Waiting for the simple solution that almost never happens:  Hoping
    against all hopes that things will work out and the solutions will come:
    entrusting others, following a somewhat passive-responsive approach.
  5. Getting the wrong technology for their needs, budget and/or anticipated
     lack of planning and pro-active IT approach, lack
    of knowledge and clear strategy overall and in general.

In addition, constantly fixing problems with no planning for growth or future
needs, no roadmap, no direction, just dealing with today's problem(s) is also
commonplace. It's important to know how to look and plan ahead successfully.
How many small businesses do you know of that have a knowledgeable five-year
IT plan, or even a longer-term view? There is great benefit in getting, staying
and keeping current on IT trends, advancements and market, partnering with
an IT provider who makes it a priority. If there is a lack of planning for
now or future needs, it could be because business owners really do not know
how to plan and need help from an IT company that is up to date and stays current,
providing competitive resources, access and competence to afford them peace
of mind and ease of process.

Wasting precious dollars trying to repair old technology with a band-aid,
stopgap, break-fix type of haphazard IT approach is very common in small businesses
and start-ups. A young entrepreneurial company sets out and starts as a small
business. The entrepreneurs initially use  home PCs, or buy older PC's,
to save money in a slap-dash peer-to-peer network of sorts, fixing it all the
time, always claiming they
do not know why it keeps breaking. The IT strategy in this camp is always dealing
with problems and cost. They will keep on fixing and paying for it. Calls and
billings are typically charged at two to four per issue--an expensive non-solution,
reactionary, responsive IT strategy, that does not make sense in the long term.
Another strategy includes using friends, family or close relatives--any type
of I know "so and so" referrals, to handle their IT needs, issues, troubleshooting,
repair and/or purchases.

Hiring any IT person or company without checking references or background
exposes your business to risk. In most cases these individuals have no insurance,
are not necessarily qualified, or have no real permission (from you the owner),
to touch the PC but they do it anyway, maybe even with the knowledge of a fellow
co-owner or employee's blessing.  Or we could give permission to someone
we do not even know is capable of doing the job and who could be doing more
damage in the process, even if they think that they are helping. At times,
some might even know the IT-lingo enough to rope you into doing something that
is not the best for you business, but “because he/she said so, I might just
as well” is very bad logic and strategy to follow for your IT solutions and
business. Do not just accept that all people or companies are who they say
they are; check references and ask for referrals.

IT companies also just have their certain way of doing things and are oblivious
in some cases to all the other problems they are actually causing. Business
owners then find themselves struggling with both vendor and technology - feeling
as if both are working against them, inefficiently battling every day.

Maintained managed technology services give clients peace of mind, even though
most feel that they cannot afford it or that it is not budgeted for. They have
to see how it will save them money and impact their business. Business owners
need to realize and get a handle on what they are currently spending on their
present strategy - it comes as quite a surprise if you sit down and figure
it out for yourself.

Rather than resolving the problem, they stay in this reactive mode, fixing
one problem at a time. Some Other resistors might include being cautious about
setting things up differently. Most of us do not like change and want nothing
to do with it. Some of us do not even know what exactly it is that we need,
and some succumb to wrong advice from a friend of a friend - not getting to
the right people and IT resources that could actually help you. We find ourselves
compromising and settling for sub-par, band-aided solutions, or not planning
for the short, medium and longer term IT needs of our businesses. We are left
getting the wrong advice and services from the wrong sources, with all of these
factors contributing to the chaotic spend and reactionary trends that are so
pervasive in small business IT management strategies today.

MIchael NatterMichael Natter
Business Development

619-651-8711 direct

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