Hire Out for Small Business Technology Help
This article is provided by the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.
Operating a successful small business today means keeping up with a great many technology-related tasks. You need basic computers and perhaps laptops, as well as a bunch of different business software, depending on what your business does. Then there are networks, Internet access, email and Web sites to contend with. Even selecting the right technology is not easy. It’s hard to know what works best for a small business.
Common missteps include buying only bargain-shelf hardware, using pirated software or buying it piecemeal rather than in discount bundles and setting up e-mail accounts without controls or Web sites that don’t work.
Helping small businesses avoid such technology blunders has become big business itself. There’s now a nationwide network of computer or IT consultants who specialize in setting up tech systems and solving problems for small companies.
The future success of your business hinges on systems that work properly, so seeking professional help makes sense. An outside tech expert can become a vital extension of your business, almost like a trusted attorney or accountant. But not just anyone with a little PC smarts will do. You’ll want someone who does this full-time for you and other clients rather than a person who merely dabbles in computers on the side.
To find the right fit, develop a detailed list of your needs and how you want the person to work including part-time, on-call or a project basis. Look for someone who understands your type of business. They should also be able to explain the work in plain English so you or someone else in your business can learn how it all works.
Experience with businesses of your size is also important. Someone who works only with big companies may not be familiar with the best solutions for you. You should tap your independent tech guru for advice before making hardware or software purchases. A few minutes on the phone can prevent costly mistakes.
For help finding a tech consultant, contact the Independent Computer Consultants Association at www.icaa.org, a national nonprofit membership group based in St. Louis. Their Web site has a free feature that lets you search for consultants by area or special skills.
To learn more about technology issues facing your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call (570) 851.1608 or visit www.scorescranton.org to contact the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.