Running a small- to medium-sized business is a costly endeavor – there’s no doubt about it. With limited resources, owners and operators struggle to remain competitive with larger organizations. And with technology playing an increasingly important role in both day-to-day activities and high-level growth objectives, allocating funds to IT services has never been more critical.
The question, then, is this: how can SMBs pay for the IT services they need to not only survive but thrive in today’s fast-paced business landscape?
Our answer? By creating a budget and investing in the services of an IT strategy consultant.
Reap the rewards of a robust IT strategy
With a limited budget at your disposal, it may seem counterintuitive to pay for yet another service, especially one that may sound like a luxury reserved for bigger businesses. Surely, your funds would be better used for purchasing new technologies, right?
An IT strategy partner can help you select the right solutions, improve efficiencies, boost productivity, minimize downtime, and more. In short, they will ensure you get the most bang for your buck by creating a tailored plan and budget for the following:
- Processes. Don’t waste your employees’ time – remember, time is money. By streamlining day-to-day processes, your team can focus their resources on core responsibilities.
- Security. Inadequate security can cost your business millions. If you’re already working with a tight budget, a successful attack could prove fatal – cybersecurity must be a top priority.
- Automation. Many time-consuming, tedious IT tasks like network monitoring can be automated for enhanced efficiency. Not only will this free up your in-house team members’ time, but, with greater scalability, it will also allow your business to expand.
More and more businesses are beginning to recognize the benefits of outsourcing their IT services, with the IT consultancy industry now worth a staggering $426 billion.
How much should SMBs spend on IT?
We’ve discussed strategy. Now, let’s crunch the numbers.
Truth be told, there is no one-size-fits-all IT budget. Your budget will depend on the scope and nature of your business, your industry, and your security needs. It’s also worth evaluating how your competitors leverage technology in their offerings.
If you’re looking for a ball-park figure, the average SMB spends 6.2 percent of their total budget on IT.
3 tips for paying for IT services on a limited budget
Here are three practical tips for funding your IT needs on a smaller budget.
1. Know what you own
First, evaluate the assets you already own. Ask yourself the following:
- How do you organize your data?
- Do you have a data recovery plan in place?
- What security measures are protecting your data?
- Do you believe that you are currently using the most effective, cost-efficient solutions on the market?
2. Set a lifecycle for your equipment
Laptops, printers, phones, servers, and other hardware don’t last forever. Sooner or later, they will come to the end of their lifecycle and die. And when they do, they’ll need replacing.
Avoid unexpected costs by setting a predetermined lifecycle for your equipment and including replacement equipment in your IT budget.
3. Be consistent
Technology can deliver a fantastic ROI. But selecting the wrong technology can be extremely costly. With a limited budget, you may not be able to afford purchasing mistakes.
The best way to avoid this is to measure the success of new solutions. By creating a consistent IT budget year in and year out, you can directly compare one strategy over another. These metrics will help you make informed IT investment decisions.