If you’re like most small business owners, you want to grow the business. To do this, you need to make investments. This may be investing in new tools, new employees or anything at all. But at times it feels like your budget is limiting your vision. One way to solve this is by finding ways cut your IT costs.
However, it’s easy to get this process wrong. You don’t want to cut IT costs by lowering the quality of your IT. This will have a disastrous effect. The trick is, you need to find ways to keep your IT at the same level of quality while reducing your costs.
Harness the Power of Virtualisation
A typical small business has several servers to take care of data storage and power needs. Yet, what’s often forgotten are the high costs that come with maintaining that equipment.
One way of cutting costs is to allow for virtualisation. That is to provide stacking of many server roles on a single piece of hardware. You will reduce the costs of maintaining each server that you use, and instead focus those maintenance efforts on a single server. Not only will your costs go down, but your efficiency of doing business will vastly improve.
Virtualisation reduces your IT infrastructure costs and space requirements. In some cases providing up to 50% of savings. Costs for maintenance are also reduced since the hardware can be more easily refreshed.
Additionally, combining virtualisation with server consolidation significantly improves the infrastructure management. All the while reducing costs. Managing this process aids you in increasing the agility of your business and making it anti-fragile.
Utilize Cloud Services
If you use Gmail, OneDrive or Dropbox, you are already reaping the benefits of cloud computing. Instead of ratcheting up your costs for an Intranet server or other software, it’s wise to consider using cloud services.
Office 365 can include a huge number of productivity software that can help you gain time and increase profitability.
There are many benefits to using cloud services. It isn’t just about keeping random business files in an off-site location. You have cloud-based tools to improve every aspect of your business nowadays. In fact, you can get almost everything done without ever installing software on your local office computers. This includes utilizing project management software, collaboration tools, sales management software, CRMs and so much more.
If the choice seems overwhelming, this is where an external IT vendor can help. They can help you decide on the right cloud-based solutions for your business. Whether this is using big-name cloud services or building a custom private cloud. A lot of it will depend on your specific needs. Contact us if you need help.
Keep your business lean
Small businesses, just like individuals, tend to use a lot of redundant software. Their computers might be full of apps and services that they don’t need. Perhaps at one time, they thought these were necessary but ended up “gathering dust”. Keep track of the way you do business and the way your employees do their work.
If they’re avoiding using some of the software, look into it. Maybe you need to encourage them to use it, or perhaps you might accept their preferences and stop paying for software they don’t want to use anyway.
You basically need to make an inventory of things. What is their preferred choice of service or IT tool that they use most often? Are there any paid services that nobody is using? Try to track down all of the redundancies in this area that are eating up your money and time.
You can use the Pareto principle to determine what you really need. In other words, determine which 20% of services or features you use to get 80% of the benefits. In many cases, you can safely get rid of those things that provide little benefit.
Remember, when you have an external IT vendor, they can help you come up with a lot of these decisions. They can help guide you in making the right decisions on what’s a necessity and what can be discarded.
Consolidate your cyber-security measures
Cutting costs on cyber-security seems like an unwise solution at first glance. Sure, getting hacked sounds quite scary and it can produce a lot of damage to your business. But many business owners tend to go overboard. They install and combine a dozen security solutions where one would have done the job just as well.
This is often due to a lack of knowledge. If you understand how to pick the right solutions, you can get away with investing in fewer security measures. Things will run smoother and your costs will go down as well since you’re not paying for multiple security solutions.
Unfortunately, we can’t give you a one-size-fits-all recommendation in this article. It depends on your specific business and situation. To come up with the right strategy, you need to analyze things and make some clever decisions.
The process involves data backup, disaster recovery, antivirus and anti-spam measures as well a host of other measures. An IT service can help you come up with the optimal security strategy to keep you safe. Depending on what you’re doing currently it might even lower your costs. But it will most definitely improve your peace of mind.
Alternatively, outsource the overwhelm
If all of the advice above seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. That’s one major issue with doing your own IT. You always have to worry about analyzing and tweaking it. This is stress that you really do not need in your life. You’re meant to focus on running and growing your business, not obsessing about the tools and technology behind it.
Going for an external vendor will improve the cost-effectiveness of your IT. Notice that phrase “cost-effectiveness”. Because it isn’t really about lowering the cost. It’s about improving the cost-to-benefit ratio that you get from your IT. Depending on how (in)efficient your current IT setup is, going for an external IT vendor might or might not cut your costs. But it will definitely improve your cost-effectiveness.
The peace of mind that you get knowing that everything “just works” alone is worth it. You can focus on the parts of your business that bring the profit. In turn, your focus will improve and your efficiency will improve. When you’re getting your IT handled by the pros, it doesn’t have to occupy any space in your mind.