Small Business IT Planning is a very serious topic for small businesses but many small or growing companies do not fully prioritise their IT growth.
It is fair to say that without IT a business could not function, so there is no excuse thinking IT as a second priority. From a sole-trading plumber who emails his customers daily, all the way up to a larger company who relies on internet orders from their website as a main profit margin. Without IT, every business would suffer and therefore any small business should factor in IT planning into their business model as a primary responsibility.
It is very easy for small businesses to setup an IT infrastructure and most startups follow this course of action:
They purchase a standalone PC to act as their “file server”, a couple of laptops and printers, POP3 email from a cheap email host and use the wireless router supplied by the Internet Service Provider in their Small Office or Home Office. Although this in itself enables the small business owner to set off which I am not denying is a good start, at some stage this basic and fairly cheap IT setup will begin to show holes in security, productivity and scalability. Consequently, many small businesses end up investing in large and sometimes unnecessary architecture as they believe that this is their “next step” under the advisement of an IT Company, who may really just want their money.
I firmly believe that IT Planning can not only save a company money, but can become a far more organic strategy to accompany the natural growth of a company. Of course, this does usually mean investing in a server which is more than a few hundred pounds compared to a PC File Server. However, a good IT Company who has experience with IT Planning will prepare a small business with their insight into their growth, phases showing how the IT infrastructure will begin, its stepping-stone upgradability, what the end result would entail and the cost implications across the board.
This method provides flexibility with cost and natural scalability which is extremely important for any growing business. No business should run before they can walk and therefore the IT of a company follows in concurrence with this notion.
In short, if you are starting business, speak to an experienced IT Company who understands a small business’ needs as they will provide you with a really good starting point to get your IT off the ground and the infrastructure itself will be far more secure than a DIY approach. Secondly, if you are a growing business and have begun to realise that it’s time to upgrade and step out of the initial IT implementation, speak to a Small Business IT Planner as they will be able to advise you on the correct, organic next steps, as well as provide you with phasing and implementation costs, together with full support as you grow.