You may not find it very interesting and you probably don’t even spare it a thought much of the time – but I’m pretty sure that, if you’ve got a small business, IT is right at the heart of it.
Do you run your accounts and payroll on standard software like Sage or Quickbooks? Do you have a website, use social media, email your customers and suppliers? How do you monitor your stock, keep track of sales, order new supplies?
Thought so. It may be dull but IT is an essential part of what makes your business tick.
So why, if you are like 97% of the respondents to our recent survey on small businesses’ attitudes to IT, do you not have a proper budget for it?
At First Line Support, where I am Managing Director, we recently surveyed 200 small businesses about their attitudes to IT.
We discovered that 52% of respondents thought that IT was an essential and continuous investment for their businesses. A further 20% admitted that they weren’t interested in IT personally, but knew that having the right IT mattered. Which is fair enough: small business owners do not have to take personal charge of absolutely everything, as long as they have assigned people and budget to make sure that everything works the way it is supposed to.
But of all the 200 business owners we surveyed, only 3% – that’s six companies ‒ budgeted for their IT spend.
So why do you need to plan?
Planning itself does not have to be expensive. There is plenty of low-cost and even free advice out there – a good place to start might be your local IT support company, who can probably offer support packages to fit any size of company. And your overall budget does not have to be huge – but if it’s properly planned and spending ringfenced, you can rest easy that, whatever else happens, your IT will continue to be there to keep your business going.