The Right IT Stuff – Finding and Working with the Best IT & Web Partner for Your Small Business

Do you often feel stuck in the computer abyss when it comes to managing your company’s needs for web or information technology services? Businesses with fewer than 50 or 60 employees often find themselves struggling to keep pace with their basic web and computer support services and miss out on effective small business IT solutions.

Without the guidance of an information technology services provider, small businesses can end up wasting time and money on computer support services because they aren’t in touch with the best technology tools and practices for small business IT solutions. Even zero-employee companies can benefit immensely from a computer support services partner who shows them how to standardize their practices, save money with the right hardware or software and develop effective websites.

Putting Out Fires – Who Needs Dedicated Computer Support Services Anyway?

The approach often taken by small organizations when it comes to information technology services is one of putting out fires. No one has time to update the website, the network is cobbled together with wiring strung across the floor, and you’re not sure when the last backup really ran. Then, a hard drive starts going click-click. You call that guy you occasionally use for computer support services, “Joe-I-Fix-Anything-PCs,” to get the computer booting. That’s when to your horror you discover that the tape in the drive since last Tuesday wasn’t really backing up and the click-click is the sickening sound of your QuickBooks data being eaten by the dying hard drive.

There is a Better Way: A Solutions Partner for Web and Information Technology Services

It isn’t that “Joe” can’t spot you some quick computer support services and get you up and running again. It’s the point that the “bargain” hard drive failed without warning, your data wasn’t backed up and you didn’t even have a centralized data management practice to begin with. Wouldn’t it have been great to avoid all the headaches by using best-practice guidelines for business management and making informed purchase decisions? That’s where a good small business IT solutions provider comes in, not only to avoid disaster but to save money. For example QuickBooks could be integrated with your shipping and credit card processing which saves three employees 30 hours a week in order fulfillment. Then you might implement a web solution for online orders which integrates with QuickBooks. A good information technology services partner makes computer support services a value proposition.

Small Business IT Solutions – Hiring a Partner

So what’s the best way to find a great web or information technology services partner to work with and then get the most out of that relationship?

1. Look for a company that specializes in small business IT solutions

Computer support services companies that specialize in small business will be more in tune to your particular needs and challenges. They will understand budgetary constraints for computer support services and the need to use resources very efficiently. Because technology developers and manufacturers are now seeing a large and relatively untapped market of small business customers, there are some terrific tools emerging for small organizations. A technology partner focused on small business IT solutions and information technology services will help your company grow and succeed.

2. Do you need a local information technology services partner?

Not necessarily. If the goal here is to find a provider of information technology services to help you manage your website, make purchase decisions and facilitate projects, it doesn’t have to be local. With sophisticated remote tools and web-based collaboration, many problems and projects can be addressed remotely. The key is to find a good fit. For onsite service such as network installation or hardware swaps, a good solutions partner can identify and schedule local computer support services as needed or works with a nationwide network experts for repairs, rollouts or other onsite computer support service. If the company isn’t local, ask what provisions it has in place for onsite service.

3. Personalized computer support services

One of the stigmas attached to the tech industry and a common complaint about providers of computer support services is lack of personalization. A good provider of information technology services wants to get to know you, your processes and your employees. The staff should ask questions about what your company does and who the key contacts are to gain a feel for your organization’s culture. Likewise, access to the provider’s staff and resources is equally important. The relationship is going to be much more effective when that company has a mandate for personalized service and an open door to communications.

4. Due diligence

Think of hiring a solutions partner for information technology services like you would hiring someone for your staff. Look for a company that is seeking a long-term partnership. Ask for references. Then find out how long the company has been in business, who you will have access to for a problem or project and how the provider charges for its computer support services.

5. Cohesive approach and good facilitation

The partner that you select should want to take a cohesive approach to understanding your business or organization and help you come up with a customized plan for your technology and web needs, be it a long-range strategy or a specific project. The difference between “Joe-I-Fix-Anything-PCs” and a provider of complete information technology services and solutions is someone who can do a good discovery about your organization and its goals, facilitate the project and help bring together providers for the components outside their expertise. Also, a one-stop shop can provide you with benefits. Keeping your hardware and software purchases, web and computer support services together can provide you economies of scale combined with the convenience of single point of support and access to someone who knows your business.

How to Get the Most Out of the Relationship

6. Identify key problems, goals and areas to improve efficiency

Once you partner with a provider of information technology services and solutions, the first and most important step is an analysis of problems. The more you can communicate about your company, current practices and areas to improve, the more effective your solutions partner can be in coming up with a computer support services plan designed to keep things running smoothly, maximize your assets and move your organization forward.

7. Set up best practices

Typically the biggest challenge small organizations face in being successful is getting out of their own way, seeing the big picture and making the changes necessary for improvements to happen. A good small business IT solutions partner can help you set up best practices to get most out of your investment in information technology services. However, making sure those practices are implemented and followed rests squarely on your shoulders, not on those of your computer support services provider.

8. Avoid costly mistakes – Don’t make impulse purchases

Whereas large companies tend to have a formal evaluation and approval process in place for making technology purchases, many smaller organizations make impulse purchases. Let the company you’ve hired for information technology services do its job and provide you its expertise on purchases. If the company resells hardware and software at competitive rates, purchasing from it can be worthwhile. You’ll have a single point of purchase for computer support services, and the company can recommend hardware and software from manufacturers it has partnerships with and expertise on as well. All of that translates to added benefit to you.

9. Choose managed information technology services designed for business

Small organizations have a tendency to operate off the cuff, looking for freebies or grabbing cheap services not really designed for business. This approach to information technology services can come back to bite you. If you want to grow your business, approach your needs for computer support services like a bigger organization would. If your IT partner makes recommendations on computer support services that you think you can find cheaper elsewhere, take a hard look at what you are getting and how it can really benefit your business. Once you weigh all the benefits, you may find the value to your business growth and offerings far outweighs the cost.

10. Can I still do it myself?

Working with a good provider of information technology services doesn’t mean you can’t do anything yourself. In fact, a reputable and innovative IT company should educate you on how to better manage your technology needs and investments. There are still a lot of day-to-day tasks you can and should do within your organization, depending on your skill level, time and desire. The point is to keep your computer support services partner in the loop and use their expertise and input on major technology decisions.

Conclusion

So, what’s in it for you? By partnering with a provider of information technology services, you’ll find a more thought out, comprehensive approach to small business IT solutions that can increase efficiency, save you money, generate revenue, and help your business succeed

5 Takeaways That I Learned About Loans

Information About Payday Loans Sometimes, some unexpected expenses come your way. You may need cash for hospital bills or to pay tuition fees. Because they can be acquire quickly and easily, payday loans could work to solve your financial needs. If you badly need cash, payday loans could be useful for you. Personal loans through banks can be more time consuming. There are times when you won’t be able to get these loans because of a lack of collateral or a poor credit score. In this case, payday loans are very advantageous. When you use your salary as collateral, this would count as a payday loan. There is a time period of thirty to ninety days before a payday loan would mature, meaning it is short term. Whenever a loan is due, you would pay for it using your paycheck or you also have the option of renewing the loan.
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Payday loans tend to have higher interest rates as opposed to personal or regular loans. Interest rates can also very from low to high. Interest rates could be different depending on the lending organization so its best to inquire about these rates before signing up for a payday loan.
Short Course on Funds – Covering The Basics
Calculation for payday loan fees could be either weekly or monthly. It is important to understand the terms of the lending firm when it comes to this. It is vital that you can pay off the loan in the agreed schedule since these payday loans could have a high interest rate when compounded annually. Inquire about the requirements if you are interested in obtaining a payday loan. A lot of lending firms will only have a few requirements when it comes to payday loans. You would need to have proof that you are in a steady, full time job and that you also have an account with a bank. It is required that you be an adult to get a loan. You might be required by your lender to issue postdated checks as a guarantee of payment. Your account will be debited or your check will be encashed once the payday loan will be due. If you are in an emergency, payday loans can be useful for you. It is important to know when to avail of these payday loans. The time period needs to be short and the amount should be small when you want to avail these types of loans. To prevent a loan that will blow up, this step is recommended. You can also cancel the payday loan before its due date if your finances will allow you to. This will help you avoid paying more for interest and other fees. You will improve your credit score as well as make yourself more eligible for another loan later on.

Small Business Target Market

Many small business owners forget to identify and define who their target market is, which hinders them from completely capitalizing on consumer buying. In order for them to be successful they must have a clear understanding of who the consumer is, what their needs are and their purchase behavior. If small business owners have a complete understanding of whom their consumers’ are, it will encourage customer retention, help define their business niche, and allow them to market their products in a profitable way.

Small business owners must identify their consumer by demographics and not by a broad spectrum. The more they know about their consumers the more they increase their chances of success. If they can’t identify their target market, they increase their risk of failure and prohibit the business from being consumer focused. Companies that don’t understand the importance of being consumer focused suffers from limited growth potential and they risk wasting money and valuable resources on marketing to the wrong consumer. It’s not a smart business practice to assume that all consumers are alike. This assumption prohibits the business from finding its place in the market.

When researching their target markets, small businesses must be specific when defining their consumer and avoid general classifications. The biggest issue business owners have when finding information about their target market is information overload. There is a wealth of information on the internet but knowing what information is needed can be a hang up for most new businesses. In order to minimize getting drowned with useless information it is best for new businesses to come up with research questions that can guide them through their research. They should compile a list of questions specifically related to their business and consumer.

Small business owners should be well informed about their consumers’ demographics such as age, gender, income, education level, occupation, family/household size and region/geography. If a small business objective is to offer affordable daycare service to single mothers who can’t afford it at the full price then the companies target market should reflect that. If the small business defines its target market as women with kids, it would mean that their service is open to all women with children of all ages. With this broad defining, the company wouldn’t be fulfilling its objective of offering affordable daycare service to single mothers in need. However if the small business redefined its target market as single mother households with incomes of $15,000- $35,000 who have children between the ages of 6 mos.- 11 years of age, it will allow them to really impact the market and target a specific group. This not only helps small business owners define their target market but develop their business niche.

It would be wonderful if all small business owners could do everything for everyone but the truth is a small business can only do so much. If small business owners settle on servicing a specific part of the market they can increase their chances of success. All major companies have a specific target market, for example Wal-Mart brags about offering low prices that help their customers live better lives, which are directed toward bargain shoppers in a target market of low to middle class families. They market and offer products to a specific group and because of this it have been a big key to their success.

Business owners must take note of the importance of understanding their target market as a necessary part of the start up process and that it shouldn’t be ignored. Before potential business owners begin business they should invest the necessary time in a thorough research on defining their consumer. By taking the necessary time to identify and define their target market, business owners can reap the benefits that will help sustain their business. It will eliminate wasteful cost and time spent marketing their service or product to the wrong consumer.