During these times of rapid technological advancement, small businesses can either thrive fail. It’s never been so easy to do business, which means your competition is more abundant and more eager than ever before. As a business owner, you need to do your part to ensure your company is standing out from the crowd – but where do you begin?
Leveraging your IT resources can help make your business processes easier and help you more efficiently reach your target consumer – it’s one of the easiest and least-taken-advantage-of areas to begin. We’ve got a few tips that can help take your business that extra mile.
Maintain a generous budget.
Information technology, especially recent innovation, is never cheap. If you want to stay ahead of the game, you’ll need to be willing to pay for it. Your IT budget for purchase and implementation of new technology should be reasonable and commensurate to your annual expansion plan. This means you need to have a plan in place that will forecast your growth in the coming year – even if you don’t know how much it will cost you.
Take training seriously.
It’s no surprise, but you and your staff could find yourselves left behind in a technology revolution that keeps evolving every single day. Even your most experienced programmers and database administrators can find themselves left behind if they don’t keep learning about the latest advances in their respective fields. Keep your techies updated – allow them training, new software editions and any new hardware they may need to do their job effectively.
Have a gap-analysis strategy for you and your competition.
The best way you can get ahead of your competition is by studying and emulating them. Identify the leaders in your industry and try to find out what kind of technologies they use. Don’t be ashamed to admit they may be better than you in certain areas and don’t feel guilty for emulating their way of doing things. If you don’t follow their example, another company will – leaving you further in the dust.
Business owners get nowhere without the active help and participation of each of your employees. Encourage employees and staff to identify any faults or oversights they might notice in their daily activities. Keep track of the suggestions and comments and try to act on them whenever and wherever possible. A happy employee is an efficient employee, so sit down with them and see if you can’t meet all their demands for an improved working environment.
Implement an upgrading schedule.
All aspects of your IT infrastructure have a lifetime. Keep track of warranties and guarantees and make sure you upgrade if you want to stay ahead of the competition. Outdated software and hardware could lead to failures you might not be able to recover from. Always keep an eye on the future.
Look for shortcuts.
Technology advances have helped us become more efficient in how we handle company infrastructure. If you have an ancient server that your administrators have to coddle for hours on end, your next step shouldn’t be buying new modern servers. Skip a generation and opt for hosted solutions, instead. Why would you want to worry about server administration, when there are perfectly good data and website hosting companies out there that can save you time and money? See where the holes in your business are and where a specialized company may be able to help.
Don’t be afraid of job cuts.
OK, maybe you don’t want to hear this, and your employees definitely won’t want to either, but efficiently leveraging information technology means there may be employee redundancies. If you find a software package that can show you a dashboard with the current and trending status of your business, you may not need analysts and accountants keeping track of it all. As technology progresses, it will make some jobs redundant. The sooner you accept that fact, the better it will be for everyone involved.
Keep moving forward!
Your main takeaway? Keep moving forward. Technology won’t stand still, and you shouldn’t either. Growth ultimately propels the advancement and saturation of IT hardware and software companies, so make use of what’s out there and leverage it to start saving time and earning more money.