While small businesses may often recognize the importance of IT to their growth and success there is an apparent gap between having this awareness and taking the necessary action to realize the benefits that IT can contribute. The lack of a viable small business IT strategy or the IT support necessary to put one to fruition can stand in the way. More common challenges include limited cash flow and a smaller margin for error when making crucial decisions.
Building a small business IT strategy calls for understanding and appreciating the value that IT can create. For example, the financial area has traditionally been the first to make use of IT, whether it’s for basic accounting, projecting cash flow, determining the pricing policy or tracking inventory. But IT is more than a recordkeeping or database management tool. In today’s globally interconnected marketplace having a presence on the Internet is vital. The small business is now able to reach out anywhere and everywhere. The right exposure can open up markets beyond your imagination. Better communication can provide a greater understanding of your customer’s needs and enable you to render swifter customer service and increase customer satisfaction.
For small businesses, budget constraints can be very restrictive especially during difficult times. The challenge is to find the least expensive yet effective approach that would yield the most benefits. A key decision point would be whether to maintain an in-house IT support staff and infrastructure or to outsource. An outsourcing provider often needs time to truly understand your business and shape an IT strategy that supports your overall goals. But in the long term this often the most affordable solution for your small business. The technology already exists that allows small businesses to achieve greater efficiency and productivity while reducing capital expenditures.
The word strategy implies the adoption of a long-term view, being proactive and staying ahead of the pack. Your small business IT support and strategy could give you the competitive edge that ensures not only survival but longevity.