When you’re starting a business, your IT needs are probably the last thing on your mind. But whether you’re a solopreneur, a team leader, or one half of a rockin’ partnership, you need to be thinking about your technology.
A polished online presence can set your business apart from similar companies in your industry. Effective IT can also give you a leg up on the competition by making your day to day operations run as smoothly as possible. So, what goes into information technology for a startup business? We’ve collected the 7 IT ingredients to get your startup on its feet.
- Technology Assets
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but unless you’re starting a tiki bar on an island where there’s no Internet and the only currency is brightly colored shells, you’re probably going to need some kind of technology to run your business.
From laptops to smartphones, tablets to touch-screens, what are your business’s needs for physical technology? Someone who sells handmade crafts at farmer’s markets can get away with a simple tablet and Square reader for transactions, plus maybe a laptop for managing a website and designs at home. On the other hand, a small accounting business or law firm will need a computer for every employee, mobile and print devices, a high-quality file sharing system, and airtight IT security before they take on their first client. GTS offers a free service for computer and software recommendations. Just give us a call and we’ll point you in the right direction for new computer purchases and upgrades.
In the digital age, websites are critical to competing in today’s business arena. Your business’s online presence says a lot about its quality, dependability, and versatility. Think about it—the last time you bought a product or service online, did you go with a company with a high-quality web presence or someone whose website would’ve been cutting-edge in the early 90s?
In 2019, we have many free and low-cost options for creating, hosting, and maintaining websites, like WordPress, SquareSpace, and Wix. Many small businesses choose to create their websites themselves – if you’re comfortable with HTML and templates, awesome! If not, reach out to GTS for our web development services. We have affordable pricing and a team of experts who can bring your business the polish you’re looking for. Keep in mind that while putting together a simple website can be relatively easy, you’ll really want to work with seasoned designers to give your website a professional design that really represents your business.
- Custom Domain
Speaking of polish, let’s talk about custom domains. At GTS, many of our clients send their first inquiries to us using an email address tied to a free Gmail or Yahoo account. These kinds of free email services can severely limit a small business’s capabilities. To that end, setting up a custom domain is often one of our very first recommendations. With a custom domain, you have all the benefits of a highly-polished website without the restrictions of a .wordpress or .wix URL. You can also create employee email addresses and email aliases that direct inquiries to the right place – and they look a heck of a lot nicer than a Gmail address.
- Office 365 Implementation
What you create, sell, or offer depends on your business – but files, calendars, and contacts are going to be part of your system no matter what industry you’re in. For a reasonable yearly fee per user, you can integrate Office 365 with your business technology. This gives you access to programs like Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (along with OneDrive and SharePoint, which we’ll get into shortly). If your business follows a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, you may have some form of Office already installed. But what happens when you need help setting up secure shared files, calendars and contacts for your team?
Your managed IT provider can custom-build an Office 365 platform designed specifically for your business. Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach, we can create a functional file editing and sharing system that works for your team. This also gives you and your team the ability to access any of your business data from anywhere with any device.
- Cloud Computing
Now that you’ve got a way to create and edit files, how are you going to store and share them? Startups, especially in high-octane industries like marketing, sales, and anything with a heavy client focus, need a surefire way to share, edit, and access files. More importantly, they need a dependable method for backing up those files. In the event of a system crash, ransomware attack, or power outage, your business’s critical data should never be at risk of total loss.
Many small businesses choose to start with a free file-sharing system like Google Drive. However, due to storage limitations, security risks, and other concerns, we strongly recommend upgrading to a business-level platform with security you can trust, like Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint.
- Internet Access and Wi-Fi
Maintaining a reliable, secure Internet connection is about more than choosing a reliable Internet service provider (ISP). If you’ll be working out of a brick-and-mortar location, you need a dependable Internet connection with secure access to sensitive data and a reliable Wi-Fi solution with adequate coverage throughout your workspace. A managed service provider like GTS can not only help you find the best rate and program with an ISP, but can also ensure that your security protocols are properly in place.
- Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM)
Many small business owners tend to think they don’t need any form of IT support because they use an all-in-one business application like Quickbooks or Expensify. However, these customer relationship management (CRM) programs can’t do it all. Even the “smallest” business (we’re looking at you, solopreneurs and microbusinesses!) needs IT support – in the event of a catastrophic virus, server crash, or security breach, you need to know that your critical data is backed up, protected, and monitored.
At GTS, we offer full-service IT support for startups and industry cornerstones alike. Our remote monitoring and management subscriptions keep computers and programs up to date, monitor potential security risks, and solve IT problems before they can wreak havoc on your business.
If you’re starting a business, you’ve got plenty on your mind. Why worry about your IT services, too? At Grand Technology Solutions, we’ve helped many businesses and business owners get their small business ideas off the ground. We focus on long-term solutions, not quick fixes – give us a call at (904) 606-6011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help kickstart your startup.