If you’re like most small business owners, you realize that labor is your biggest expense and the best way to reduce that expense is to maximize productivity and efficiency. What you may not realize is that one of the most common and costly obstacles to productivity is bad IT management. Luckily, on the flipside, you may well increase your revenue streams by effectively improving IT management within your company. But first, let’s examine the perpetrators.
While all businesses are at risk of losing money to hardware or software failure, in 2015 nothing proved more costly to small business owners than network security breaches. According to the Ponemon Institute, that year small businesses ranked first among attractive and lucrative targets for cybercriminals with the total cost of a single data breach averaging $6.53 million.
Among the weaknesses which make small businesses most attractive to criminals are a lack of time, budget and expertise to implement comprehensive security defenses; no dedicated IT security specialist on the payroll; outsourcing security to unqualified contractors; and a failure to keep security defenses updated. Unfortunately, the likelihood of multiple, unnoticed cyberattacks impacting your small businesses is near-inevitable if your network is not managed or only loosely protected.
While security breaches and other breaches in trust are large contributors to customer churn, the most common cause of defection among small businesses is a perceived lack of value. In this case, value not only pertains to the quality of the product or service offered by a vendor, but the precedent for customer service and the working relationship that has been established, surrounding its delivery. In other words, if customer can’t access your site immediately or is forced to wait on an employee due to a slow PC or network glitches, it’ll likely impact their perceived value of your services, not to mention potential sales
Maintaining faulty technology on the service end or failing to properly maintain technology is no way to enable customers to use the products and services they subscribe to more efficiently or effectively. Chances are, they’ll move on to seek the services of a competitor if your internal network continually stalls their workflow or otherwise undermines their expectations – and rightly so.
Bad advice can have a very costly impact on your business’s bottom line. Have you ever paid for hardware or software that didn’t effectively forward the goals of your business? Did you upgrade functional hardware, too hastily? How much time was lost transitioning to newer equipment when your current equipment is adequate? How long will it take to configure and install?
Unfortunately, it’s near-impossible for the business owner to stay ahead of the technology on top of all of their other responsibilities, and it’s similarly difficult for an IT savvy employee to conduct all of the company-wide support tasks in addition to his or her primary job. Furthermore, an independent consultant may not be readily available when needed, especially if they’re committed to a full-time job, elsewhere – adding to your downtime costs.
While the majority of small businesses cannot afford a full-time IT consultant, neither can they afford the costs associated with inadequate IT support. Luckily, of the hidden costs outlined thus far — inadequate security measures, technical glitches leading to customer churn, and inexperience — can be avoided in a simple hand off to fully-certified and qualified IT professionals.
Imagine your investment in well-managed and secure IT network as opening a savings account. Not only are you saving all of the money you would have lost to poor business practices but you’re accruing interest or turning a profit on that initial deposit, thanks to highly effective equipment which enable stronger, more efficient workflow. Ready to get started?
To calculate your own losses, savings, and potential for revenue download our featured whitepaper “The Four Hidden Costs of Poor IT Management” with scenarios and research from the likes of Gartner and Aberdeen Group – in addition to educating yourself on, likely, the most detrimental hidden cost of them all: downtime.
Once you can perform your own cost-savings calculations, you can begin to take the necessary steps toward enriching your IT program to the benefit of your entire business.