Succeeding as a small business can be daunting. In the UK, Ormsby Street finds that only four in ten will survive in five years. But with the right approach, you can avoid those odds. Smart small businesses know that growing, evolving and thriving requires good management, smart marketing, and investing in the right technology.
Some of the best ways to achieve these goals while optimising costs include:
Simplify your business's IT infrastructure
The more complex your IT infrastructure, the more expense and effort must go into managing it. Older systems are more likely to break down, and often can’t keep up with modern demands for capacity, scalability and bandwidth. Legacy technology is also less likely to integrate well with newer technologies and processes.
According to Gartner, centralisation and consolidation of IT systems is critical to reducing non-value-added IT cost. One way to simplify IT is by consolidating as much technology as possible under a single vendor. This ensures integration, easier upgrades and troubleshooting, and reduced outages.
Cloud gives scalability and flexibility – and saves money
With the old model, increased demand or company growth often required buying more capacity and/or equipment. By focusing on an infrastructure that is scalable and flexible, adding capacity is as simple as pushing a button, and adopting new processes and technologies is just as easy. In the networking arena, for example, the cloud model enables businesses to expand the number of ports required on demand.
One of the best ways to achieve this type of scalability and flexibility is by moving some – or all – infrastructure to the cloud, a pay-as-you-go model that enables businesses to scale, provision and customise computing resources on demand. According to Gartner, businesses are saving about 14 percent of their budgets each year by moving to the cloud.
Digital transformation will increase cost-efficiency
Digital transformation is an important step for all companies, and it’s particularly critical for smaller companies to be as efficient and cost-conscious as possible. There are many areas where companies can digitally transform, including adopting more cloud services and virtualisation, network optimisation, mobile enablement and management.
Optimising network traffic, for example, can drastically reduce productivity losses due to unreliable network performance. It can also eliminate costs associated with wasted capacity and redundant connections. According to the SMB Group, around half of SMBs are currently working on digital transformation initiatives, and it’s paying off; McKinsey found that digital transformation can improve the bottom line by more than 50 percent for companies that attain full digital transformation.
Invest in preventative security measures to optimise costs long-term
In today’s world, it goes without saying that security is a top priority. Not only is a security breach a blow to your reputation, but it’s expensive.
According to Ponemon Institute, 61 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack in the past 12 months and spent an average of more than $2 million (£1.5 million) due to remediation and downtime. Avoiding these kinds of disasters requires top-notch security technology, including next-generation firewalls, VPNs, secure servers and good password management.
Future-proofing will reduce IT costs
By investing in technologies that can grow and change with your business and evolving technology trends, you’ll avoid being left with obsolete technologies that you are forced to replace.
With demands for speed, capacity, flexibility, performance and scalability rising each year, avoiding making the necessary changes could cost your company real money, not only through new equipment purchases, but by missing opportunities that your existing technology can’t capture.
One of the best ways to future-proof your technology is moving some of your processes to the cloud - networking, storage, compute power, software, and more. Another option is replacing older technology you want to keep on premise with newer, more adaptable technology that is more scalable and modular, ready to handle next-generation technologies and processes like advanced analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence.
Taking advantage of these modern, efficient and economical technology advances is an important step in beating the odds. With the right tools, your business can not only survive, but thrive.
There’s no getting away from it. If you’re going to grow your business, your technology needs to come along for the ride. Find out how to future-proof your technology here.
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