"Jack of all trades, master of none". If that describes your business, you're in for a bad time.
50% of businesses fail in their first five years. There are many reasons for that, but not least among them is that small businesses try to do too much. They lose focus on their core business, and the money slowly drains away.
That money often disappears on support services like IT, HR, and finance.
Luckily, managed IT services are one way that small businesses can stay on track. Below, we're taking a look at why small businesses need managed services.
Eyes on the Prize
Small businesses already have enough stacked against them, without worrying about things outside their business focus.
Trying to maintain in-house supporting functions risks spreading your business thin. You're faced with two choices: hire more staff, or assign non-expert staff to jobs they don't understand or enjoy.
That has serious cost, morale, and productivity implications. Trying to do too much outside your core business focus could cripple the growth of your business in the critical early stages.
Larger companies have the luxury of setting their profits aside for dedicated in-house teams. They can hire an IT department or a marketing department to handle these matters.
Managed IT services are a great way for small companies to sidestep this issue. By paying for a managed service, you can get all the benefits of an in-house department without the business burdens. You won't need the floor space for extra manpower. You won't spend more on wages, bonuses, and other employee administration.
Instead, for a fixed price and a comparatively low level of administration, you can enjoy all the benefits of an expert in-house team.
Even when you're focused on your core business, you want to keep an eye on the future.
Perhaps you don't need much IT support in the early days. But as your business grows, you'll soon find your IT falling behind your business objectives. You might discover you need extra support you didn't account for in your business plan.
Even if you do splash out on IT, you could be in for a shock. Technology continues to develop at an astonishing pace. You could find the expensive IT equipment you bought one year is outdated the next.
That means even more of your profits go to funding IT and employing new experts. You'll also discover that even researching new IT is an exhausting task. It takes many man-hours to determine your exact needs and the best of the available options.
Using a managed IT service provider is a way to future-proof your business. IT will be the core businesses focus of your managed service. That means they'll spend their capital on keeping their equipment upgraded and their staff training current.
Security and Backups
Two things that can cripple a company instantly: data breaches and data loss.
Data breaches are increasingly common. Even the best case scenario usually involves the theft of encrypted customer data. Worst case scenario? Permanent corruption of databases.
A data breach could spell the end for a business. Steep financial penalties often apply to companies who fail to secure customer data. In some cases, data breaches can shatter customer anonymity. For industries like law and healthcare, this is damning.
Your company might never recover once a data breach destroys your reputation.
Data loss due to natural disaster, fire, or vandalism is no laughing matter, either. In some cases, even software failure might be enough to corrupt your data. That means everything you use to conduct your business disappears in the space of minutes. It could take you years to recover.
Managed IT services know all about data compliance and effective backups. A key part of effective security is keeping software up-to-date, which a service provider will do as a matter of course. IT services are also experienced in continuity management. They know how to keep a business running when the worst happens.
The first casualty of war is always the plan. Factors that might only rock a larger business can ruin a smaller one.
Whatever plan you might have for the future, you never know exactly what's around the next corner. Maybe you need to adapt quickly and realign your business. Perhaps you need to upgrade your equipment to meet the needs of a large contract.
Using a managed service provider gives you that flexibility. You aren't tied down to the equipment and manpower you already have. Instead, you can communicate with your provider to increase the scope of your contract with them.
Your managed IT service is likely used to handling clients of various sizes and needs. That means they should be able to meet your requirements. They can also make you aware of the options for what you're trying to achieve. Finally, you may be able to bring them in to train your staff on new IT equipment.
Level the Playing Field
It's no surprise so many small businesses fail in their early years. Many of them are muscled out by much larger competition.
Larger businesses have advantages that small ones simply can't match. Their raw spending power is the most obvious. But it also works in more subtle ways, from marketing expertise to brand awareness.
An in-house team of experts is just one of these many advantages. Not only can large companies afford to hire them and their equipment in the first place, but they can allocate funds to keep them upgraded, too.
How can small fish grow in the shark pond? By making effective use of managed services.
Managed services allow a small company to punch above its weight. They can take on the advantages of a larger company without the aspects which cripple a smaller business.
That puts small businesses on a level playing field, one where they can succeed against larger competitors in their crucial early years.
Managed IT for Small Business Success
Now you understand why managed IT is so vital to small business success. It allows them to step up in competitive markets. That's one less risk factor that could bring an end to your business in its early years.
Want to know more? Why not contact us today to find out how we can help you?