Is IT really any different for small businesses than it is for other organizations?
This is an important question to ask and answer for a couple of reasons.
First, the answer will shape how small businesses pursue IT support. If small business IT support is unique, then it makes sense for small businesses to work with providers who are uniquely suited to the space – who have experience with small businesses, or, better, a small business focus. If small business IT support isn’t unique, then this is irrelevant.
Second, the answer will certainly shape how support is delivered. If small business IT support is unique, providers will need to consider how it is unique in order to offer ideal solutions.
So, let’s get back to the question: Is IT support for small businesses different?
At Willits Technologies, we believe that the answer is a strong “yes.” There are a variety of considerations and challenges that make small business IT different than IT at mid-to-large organizations. These unique challenges must be accounted for to deliver quality support
Let’s unpack what that means. Here are a few of the biggest factors that make small business IT unique, along with their repercussions.
This is a sad fact of small business IT life. When small businesses work with general providers – those that don’t specifically focus on small business IT support – they can often find themselves relegated to life as second-tier service priorities due to their smaller budgets. Their providers won’t say this, of course, but it’ll become obvious over time as issues and projects get delayed or go unattended to.
The key takeaway here is that small businesses are much better served by working with a provider that specializes in small business IT support – a company that understands the SMB context and won’t relegate small business needs to the back of the line.
Because small businesses lack large budgets and may lack dedicated IT personnel, they’re uniquely vulnerable to cyberattacks. While they don’t tend to have as many assets or as much data as larger organizations, they represent easy targets – and hackers target them accordingly.
IT support must account for both the high level of cybersecurity risk that small businesses face, and the reality of smaller budgets. It’s another tension to manage, and small-business-focused providers are able to manage it best.
There are fewer people using technology in a small business – and the small team size substantially impacts technology selection. Some software platforms, for example, discount higher numbers of users, which means that small teams end up paying higher costs per head. Conversely, some software platforms are designed specifically for small businesses and offer streamlined feature sets for small numbers of users to make costs affordable.
The key repercussion is that small business IT support must be able to identify the solutions that will best fit smaller teams.
While larger companies often have fully staffed internal IT teams, small businesses often get by without officially designated IT support for years. The owner may take care of things, or an office admin may wear the IT hat, or somebody will have an uncle who knows computers and checks in every few months.
But as small businesses grow, they come to a crossroads, and they must decide whether to hire internally, outsource, or stay the DIY course. This decision point is unique to small businesses; larger businesses have already moved past it and almost always have an existing solution in place.
This is related to team size and is simultaneously one of the most obvious and critical factors in why small business IT support can be difficult: Small businesses aren’t working with million-dollar IT budgets. They’re working with what they have.
As a consequence, small businesses often put together their IT systems somewhat inefficiently. They don’t operate with the budget to design ideal systems from the ground up; instead, they solve problems as needs arise. The result is often an assortment of systems that don’t ideally fit the needs of the business and almost certainly don’t fit cohesively together.
For IT providers, this means two things. First, small business IT support requires a dedicated approach. The provider needs to enter in, analyze, and understand the environment, recognizing that things may not have been set up “by the book.” Second, support must balance the needs of businesses with budgetary realities. In other words, providers shouldn’t implement ill-fitted systems to cut costs, but they also shouldn’t blow budgets on feature sets that aren’t necessary. They must also be able to provide support to these systems at reasonable costs.
Picking the right tools matters. This is a tension to manage.
To summarize this point, small business IT is unique because it requires the best of all worlds: good solutions at low costs serviced well. Efficient quality is the key in navigating this. Technology solutions must be cost-effective, they must be implemented efficiently, and they must include efficiently delivered support.
The bottom line is that small businesses have a unique set of IT needs that require focused solutions. As a result, the best small business IT providers tend to be focused on serving small businesses.
At Willits Technologies, that’s our focus. We help Houston small businesses with IT expertise, high-quality communication skills, and responsive support.
We’d love to help you analyze your IT needs and identify what the best solutions will be for your environment. Our techs average a decade of experience, our support is lightning fast, and we’re designed to serve small businesses like yours.
Don’t settle for a solution that’s not designed for a small business context. You deserve a provider that will prioritize your needs. You deserve better IT support.
If you’re ready for it, get in touch with us today.