Small business owners face many tech- and IT-related challenges which can be a major cause for slowing down the growth of the business. Even outside IT-related industries, very few businesses can thrive in this digital economy without IT and digital strategy support. But small business owners often can’t afford to hire significant IT staff. You’re busy growing the core of your business, and IT for most is just an afterthought.
One recommended solution to this problem is outsourcing. This is an established solution: speaking to larger firms, Stephanie Overby at CIO.com describes what—not whether—to outsource. Unless IT is a part of your business core, you’re likely better served to outsource some or all of it to a firm that specializes in it. However, what’s worth outsourcing?
Here are 9 tech tasks small businesses should outsource to a managed service provider like BrightLink Technology.
1. IT Infrastructure
Without a robust in-house IT team, you don’t want to be in the business of managing IT infrastructure. You’re better off using a cloud service where you have access to IaaS (infrastructure as a service). With this model, your infrastructure needs (such as server space or processing power) can quickly scale or contract. You have access to virtually as much or as little infrastructure as you need because it’s delivered over the internet.
Unsure about IaaS? State Tech Magazine takes a deep dive on the topic that’s worth your time.
2. IT Support
Partnering with a managed service provider is a great way to handle your IT support, too. With an in-house IT staffer, you get dedicated, on-site help. But you’re limited to what that person knows. As soon as a problem exceeds your IT staffer’s knowledge, you’re stuck with calling in specialists and waiting for them to arrive.
With managed IT support, you have near-immediate access to a range of specialists. Yes, you lose the immediacy of being able to walk around the corner for help. But in exchange you gain access to more expertise and you jump to the front of the line with your managed IT provider when serious problems do crop up.
Everything we’ve said already about the limitations of in-house staff is in play here as well, however the stakes can be even higher. Even if you’re a fairly sizable small business, it’s usually not economical to hire the amount of qualified IT staff members to handle your own cybersecurity. It’s too large, too complex, and too critical of a task to go it your own. You need dedicated experts evaluating your system, probing it for vulnerabilities, and ensuring that software is up to date. The last thing you want is your digital assets being seized by a hacker using ransomware, or worse, them deleting or distributing your private data.
Does your business sell online, or do you want to start? It’s more complicated than it looks, and many of the behind-the-scenes components are already reliant on other vendors. For example, you can’t process credit cards on your own. You need a third-party vendor or application to do this, and not only that, you need to make sure those transactions are fulfilled securely.
As with cybersecurity, the stakes can be high to try and do this alone. Rather than piecing together a handful of third-party elements, consider outsourcing your entire ecommerce platform to a single provider who is experienced with implementing effective e-commerce platforms. This way you can focus on bringing in more business and not so much on how to get your website to function properly.
5. App Development
As your company grows, you may identify the need for a customized business application or customer-facing app. Small businesses are rarely well-equipped for this task. Outsourcing to a firm specializing in app development is almost always a good move. They may also know of an existing app that meets your needs, avoiding the need for developing a custom one, altogether.
6. Digital and Social Strategy
If your company has grown to the point where you’re considering hiring a social media manager or a digital strategist, think hard about this decision. Too many small businesses hire an inexperienced, but “socially savvy” individual who doesn’t truly understand SEO, SEM or any other number of must-know digital practices. Outsourcing your digital and social strategy to a digital marketing agency or well-qualified freelancer is often a stronger move.
7. Web Design and Development
As a small business you have a couple options for how to develop a website. You can use free services like Wix or Squarespace, hire a web designer or outsource. We advise against the “free” sites: they’re limited, they scream, “we’re new or not serious” and worst of all, they’re rarely actually free. If you’re deciding between hiring in-house and outsourcing, consider the depth of knowledge you get by outsourcing to a marketing agency team. Your one in-house hire is unlikely to match this.
8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a big deal, and it can also be pretty time-consuming. Your small business may reach a point where you need help with CRM. Maybe you’re already there. CRM software tools like Salesforce, Monday, or Infusionsoft are a start. But outsourcing CRM completely is another option worth considering. IT can keep your business development organized, and your forecasts more accurate.
9. Anything Else Outside IT’s Expertise
Lastly, you should consider outsourcing anything else that’s outside your in-house IT’s expertise. Too often, your in-house resources are pulled in dozens of directions. Half of those directions are areas your IT staff isn’t strong in. Let your in-house staff focus and specialize by outsourcing the rest to a Managed Service Provider. You’ll be amazed at the synergy gained when your in-house staff and your MSP work together.
About BrightLink Technology
There are many tech tasks that are worth outsourcing. If your small business is interested in exploring this, partner with a managed service provider that can take care of all your outsourcing needs in one place. Contact BrightLink Technology today at (904) 619-1966 to get an idea of what services you may benefit from outsourcing.