IT solutions are not one-size-fits all implementations. For example, a shipping company in Boise, Idaho may have entirely different needs than a small marketing firm in New York.
How can a small business owner gain better insight regarding IT help? Help yourself, answering the following questions.
In-house or Outsource?
Business-to-business outsourcing has made incredible strides in the last decades; whether a small business needs help with tracking business metrics or ordering coffee for the office kitchen, there are services ready to help.
Depending on the need and its relation to your business, you’ll have to decide whether it’s cost efficient and better for the company to hire an IT staff person full time or have a third entity do it.
The advantages and disadvantages are similar, regardless of service; quick fixes and peace of mind are two advantages of keeping a worker in-house, yet some small businesses may not have the funds for full-time pay and benefits.
How Integral is IT to Service/Product?
A small-scale marketing company, performing most of its tasks offline, may only need a small website and functioning contact page. IT solutions warrant searching for photocopier sales to such operations. However, a drop-shipping diaper company’s entire revenue may be contingent on tech solutions. The former’s business model is not as needy.
What’s your specific business model, and how do technical products and solutions play a part? The breadth and investment of solutions needs alignment with business operations.
How Much Will Business Grow in the Next Year?
Every business owner wants to make more money; it doesn’t mean growing in numbers or resources. However, if adding more people and infrastructure is part of your overall plan, consider how IT needs scale along with such aspirations.
Larger businesses have entire IT departments, but smaller companies of the same industries, may address IT needs with one to a few in-house members or a small-scale third-party team. Those with fast-growing aspirations gravitate toward fielding an in-house team.
Do I Need Help Answering?
It can be difficult to separate subjective predicaments from objective and rational business decisions. You may have notions or assumed predictions about to-be solutions. Discuss thoughts with a business consultant who has helped others in your situation, better guiding and helping answer questions.
If you host tendency to answer questions above in a particular manner, ensure you note a few arguments against your decision. Consider asking other owners about their trials and anecdotes, further elucidating parcels of usable information.
Is This an Immediate Need?
How long do you have to consider IT solutions? Is this an immediate need, and if so, will the immediacy affect your answer? Survey the breadth of needs, consider looking for in-house potential, and rove lists of services provided by third parties.
Small businesses host the advantage to be nimble, but own the disadvantage and inability making costly mistakes. You don’t want to make a poor investment, or worse, tamper with business operations due to hasty decisions. Consider giving yourself more time if you have trouble answering the above questions.
photo credit: on Flickr