The #1 Biggest Mistake Small Business Make in Technology
We once had a client who hired one of the area’s largest IT firms for her small business. This was a huge mess-up, and one that we see all the time.
She had gotten the reference from a close acquaintance, who worked at a large corporate office. The IT firm did great work for the large office and mostly supported the organization’s existing infrastructure and in-house IT team.
When the large IT firm got to my client’s small business, however, the job description was much different. They essentially had to build a technology infrastructure and telephony system from the ground-up for a five-person office.
Thousands of dollars and dozens of wasted hours later, my client could not understand why her investment was the source of so many problems. She thought she was going with the “cadillac” option will all the assurances they came with it. As it turned out, the IT company had installed a system that was perfect for large corporate office, but lousy for a small business. Really lousy, actually, and the whole system had to be scrapped.
Seek a Technology Advisor, Not a Large Tech Company
Hiring a large tech company with just because they have a solid track record is the #1 biggest mistake small businesses make in technology.
Large tech companies go with what they know. Their business model relies on servicing large clients, and often times they treat small businesses like large corporations.
If you have a smaller office, it’s best to build a relationship with a trusted technology partner. One reason for this is that an advisor will take the time to understand your unique business position and goals. The consultant can act like a part of the team, and often times provides advice beyond what is billed for if the relationship is good.
Also, small-business technology advisors are accustomed to the problems that the organizations face. “When all you’ve got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” is an adage that aptly describes the way a large IT firm might approach a small-business problem.
Additionally, a technology advisor is someone with whom you can build a relationship with over time. If the relationship is good, the advisor will be more inclined to help you without worrying about billing so much. He or she might be willing to go the extra mile in the case of major problems, and will be more likely to give sound advice rather than administer placating “bad medicine.”
The downside of hiring an advisor is that they aren’t always a cost-effective option for managing the day-to-day operations regarding IT work. However, most will work with you to find a feasible maintenance solution or will train you to do this yourself, saving you tons of money.
In any case, always seek a technology advisor that is a good fit for your business. Just because a building contractor built the Empire State Building doesn’t mean they should build your house.