Knowing how and when to scale up your business is one of the major keys to success. It’s estimated that only around half of the businesses that start up each year are still trading after three years.
This report in the Financial Times states that nearly 660,000 companies started trading in 2016, so that’s an awful lot of new businesses that didn’t make it.
In a separate report from Lloyds Bank, having digital skills makes it over twice as likely that new businesses will scale up and see success.
The points below are applicable to start-up businesses and established ones at the point of expansion. In both cases, IT must provide what you need today, and allow some wiggle room for the future.
Develop a IT Foundation
A solid business IT foundation means thinking about where you’re going before you get there. Will you employ people? Will you maintain an office, work on a telecommute basis or rely on independent contractors?
Your IT strategy should also incorporate your online social presence, your website, how customers reach you, your telecoms and POS technology.
Even something really basic and simple, such as your email address, can impact your IT foundation strategy. Consider how you’ll keep your people in touch with each other and with customers as your business grows. If you want to maintain a business identity, you need your own domain, with bespoke email you can add users to.
Your cloud computing needs expand as business demands grow. Instead of figuring out a whole new system a couple of years in, it’s better and more cost effective to start out with something that will grow alongside you, allowing you to add functions as they’re needed.
Minimise Risk with IT Flexibility
Expansion and risk often walk hand in hand. When you see an opportunity for expansion, analyse it a little. Is it a sustainable opportunity, or will the market shrink back in the near future? Scaling up production, processes or skills can be expensive, but if you’ve already got a firm IT base this needn’t be an obstacle.
Cloud based services such as Microsoft Office 365 offer Software as a Service (SaaS). Rather than buying expensive software, it’s rented on a subscription, with inbuilt scalability. Add users or capabilities as they’re needed, rather than making big financial investments upfront in the hope of using it in the future.
As this article points out, having the right technology in place is often even more important than having deep pockets.
Be Realistic About Your IT Skills
It would be grand if we could all do everything. Modern business IT demands have long surpassed the skill set of the average office worker. In some instances it’s also surpassed the average in-house IT admins.
If you’re not running an IT business, the level of expertise needed to keep a small business competitive with technology makes it wise to outsource IT maintenance and support. In business, you should concentrate on what you’re good at.
For the team at Eitex, that’s IT support and maintenance . We’d be very happy to offer you our IT expertise, so you can get on with doing the things you also do best.