In small-to-medium sized business, there’s generally more work to do than employees to help.
Unfortunately, that means that some of the most important aspects of keeping a business running smoothly are overlooked, like the technology department. However, that’s one of the biggest mistakes any business could make.
According to a 2013 poll performed by AT&T, 66 percent of businesses could not survive without a solid technical department.
Since technology is most likely at the heart of your business, it’s important to do everything possible to keep it functioning flawlessly. If your business is making any of the following tech mistakes, it’s time for some changes.
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1. Inadequate Technical Support
Even though two-thirds of small businesses say that they can’t live without tech support, there is a shocking lack of professional tech support among businesses today.
In a 2013 survey performed by the National Small Business Association (NSBA), 40 percent of small businesses say they handle their tech issues by themselves, while only 32 percent have an in-house staff member and 24 percent pay an outside company.
A large number of those who handle tech support by themselves have inadequate knowledge and resources to handle some of the major problems in business, which means that a minor problem can set business processes back by days.
You may not feel like you have the capital to hire an outside technology specialist, but if you’re a small business, it’s in your best interest to do so. By having tech support on retainer, your business will actually have a more cost-effective, efficient and profitable business operation because they don’t get jammed up by simple tech issues.
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2. Scarce Resources
Some businesses understand the importance of professional technical support, but they feel like they don’t have the resources to hire a tech professional full-time. They are among the 40 percent of business owners who choose to handle all tech issues themselves. Because of that, when their tech goes down, they end up losing time and even clients as they struggle to fix the issue themselves without the proper resources.
If your business is struggling to make ends meet, find ways to cut costs elsewhere so that you can afford the tech support when you need it. Also, look for forums and networks that can help you fix even the smallest technical issues and direct you to affordable IT specialists.
You can find these resources through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Or you can look for more specialized networks, such as Spiceworks, which is an IT network where more than 6 million IT professionals congregate to discuss IT challenges and utilize free software, like the Help Desk software and their network monitoring solutions. The right resources can make all the difference between drowning in a technical problem and successfully fixing it.
3. Deficient Protection
Protection, both physical and web-related, is one of the most important things for keeping the technology in a business running without incident. According to the same NSBA survey mentioned previously, 94 percent of small businesses are concerned about cybersecurity. Yet, many of them do not have adequate protection for the devices and software they use every day in their businesses.
Both physical and online protection is integral to the success of your business. A single power surge or spike can be the end of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, a single hacker can steal hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of credit information, and a single virus can lose you many of your clients and your good reputation. It’s extremely important to have the tech support you need in order to protect your company, assets and clients.
4. Poor Employee Tech Training
Aside from having inadequate tech support, many businesses also have inadequate technical training for their employees. The average employee probably only knows how to work about 20 percent of the software they use on a daily basis, which means that most of the time-saving and cost-effective features go unused. Furthermore, a large number of technical problems could be avoided if employees knew more about the software and devices they were using.
Companies looking to improve their efficiencies, reduce technology issues and boost their reputations should invest time and effort into providing proper tech training. With regular meetings, instruction manuals, computer based trainings and incentives, you can get your regular staff up to speed on important technological factors that will save you from hassles down the road.
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5. Failed Backup Strategies
Most companies rely almost solely on technology to organize and protect their information. They may think they have adequate backup, but a shocking amount don’t succeed in their efforts to protect their precious data.
Every week 14,000 hard drives crash in the United States. Furthermore, 60 percent of companies that lose all or part of their data will shut down within six months of the incident, and 93 percent of companies that are unable to recover their data after 10 days file for bankruptcy.
This all too common mistake is incredibly unfortunate, simply because there are a wide variety of proven backup options available. With the right strategy this fiasco is entirely avoidable. By working with proficient IT consultants, companies can learn exactly what it takes to protect data from loss, and then implement a strategy that complements their specific budget and company needs.
The hard truth is that small businesses with inadequate technical support are not likely to survive. It’s important for businesses to always stay ahead of the latest technology innovations and work with IT professionals, no matter the upfront cost, to come up with the technology knowledge they need to stay afloat.