Small business owners always need to do more with less: money spent on product development can’t be spent on reaching new customers; money spent on office space can’t be dedicated to hiring new workers. One particularly difficult area to manage is IT. While IT is crucial to how your business functions, it can easily absorb more than you can—or should—spend. Here are 3 ways working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) will save you money.
#1 Make Smart Investments in Physical Capital
For any small business—but particularly for a start-up—it can be difficult to anticipate exactly how much capacity you’ll need in your network. Calling in a MSP to advise you from the beginning will give you an experienced perspective on your business needs, sometimes free of charge since most MSPs may not charge for an initial consultation. The MSP can show you the cost structure of additional physical capital verses remote access to hardware. Perhaps programs that require expensive processing power can be shifted to a remote server, thereby saving a significant capital expense. Or maybe leveraging a cloud backup solution versus an internal backup system will prove more costly in the long run. In either case, the expertise of a MSP will guide you through the analysis, ensuring that you buy only the hardware you need.
#2 Make Smart Investments in Human Capital
Hiring and training additional employees is another significant investment for any small business. How can you guarantee that today’s pressing need will still be there a year or two down the road? Rather than sinking money into one employee who may or may not offer you the skills you need in the long term, you might consider outsourcing the job you need done. An established MSP can offer you experts in a wide-range of platforms and technologies for a short-term project or an ongoing service. Outsourcing the job that needs to get done may cost a fraction of what a full or part time employee would. Once again, the MSP will provide you with a clear analysis of the costs and benefits of each option.
Many small business owners are surprised at the range of services MSPs offer for small business IT support. For example, a MSP can give your company desktop support, just like an in-house technician—installing system updates, trouble-shooting your machines and providing software training to your employees. It can also manage your IT vendors for you, from your Internet provider to a company that licenses a specialized application for your business, they will be the first line of defense and represent you better since they speak the lingo. Like your in-house employee, your contact person at the MSP will keep you informed about the quality and service your vendors are supplying, as well as letting you if a better deal can be found elsewhere.
#3 Help You Buy Only What Your Business Needs
Most of all, MSPs will advise you on what IT is absolutely necessary f, thereby ensuring that you don’t spend money you don’t need to. A monthly contract with a MSP allows you to get what you need quickly with the flexibility of changing as market conditions change. The expertise and flexibility offer significant benefits to a small business that needs to keep a constant eye on the bottom line.