Does your small business use some kind of technology to enhance operations? With all of the great opportunities and convenience that technology offers, it also comes with challenges. IT support can help you make sense of the various issues that come with your online and hardware resources.
IT support comes in many forms and with many different costs and other considerations to think about. Here are some key questions you should ask to help you determine the level of tech support that’s right for your business.
What Types of Businesses Need IT Support?
No matter what type of small business you have, it’s likely you could benefit from some level of IT support. The exact level of support may vary depending on the type of tech you use and your own level of knowledge on the issues that you regularly encounter.
At the very least, it’s likely that your business has some kind of website or online presence. And if those online assets experience issues, even for a short amount of time, it can prevent customers from finding or purchasing from your business. However, tech support can also help you solve issues with slow load times on your computer, wifi issues in your store or cafe, printer or email issues, and even viruses and cybersecurity problems.
So essentially, unless you run a completely offline local business where you process sales by hand and don’t use any digital communication methods, you could use IT support. But the exact level of support you may need is what’s up for debate. Here are some things to think about in that area.
What Types of Small Business IT Support Are Available?
You can hire an in-house IT professional if you have the need for it and the financial stability to afford the addition to your staff. According to data from Glassdoor, the average base pay for an IT professional is over $85,000. So this option does require a significant investment for small businesses. However, if you experience problems that lead to downtime regularly, the dedicated support could be worthwhile.
You can also outsource your IT support to a firm that works with multiple businesses and organizations. Typically, this route costs less than bring in full-time staff, and can be beneficial for businesses that simply don’t have constant tech issues. Even within this category, there are a few different options to choose from. You can opt for a monthly subscription type service, sometimes known as managed services, where you pay a flat fee for support that’s available 24/7. With this type of service, which includes providers like OneNeck and FRS Pros, you get support for every issue throughout the month no matter how many you experience, and can potentially rely on those professionals before they even become noticeable for your organization.
Or you could opt for a support service where you pay for each issue individually, an option that may be attractive to businesses that only have intermittent tech support needs. Examples of this type of service include BLM Technologies and Intelinet Systems. You could also search for a local firm that does in-person visits when necessary.
There are also some free resources available online for small businesses that just don’t have the resources to pay for dedicated support. Tech Support Me and The Free Site, for example, offer tutorials, tips and even courses to help you fix issues on your own. This, of course, does require you to spend the time learning about various issues and fix them yourself. It can save you money but take significant time in the long run. So it’s mainly just an option for businesses that are strapped for cash in the very early stages.
Additionally, depending on the providers that you rely on for various tech functions, you may be able to get some level of support from those companies to help solve your tech issues. For example, if you have a website that’s hosted through Bluehost, you can contact the company’s tech support if your site experiences hosting issues. Microsoft also has a support line that you can call when you’re having issues with Microsoft products. However, this route usually still requires you to have some basic knowledge so that you can at least explain the issue and determine the source.
Choosing the right type of IT support for your small business depends wholly on your needs and the investment that you’re comfortable making. In addition, it’s likely that the level of support you need is going to change through the years. As you hire team members and accrue more online resources and data, you’re likely to run into more issues that you simply can’t or don’t want to solve on your own.
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