Creating a startup business is a funny thing – there are plenty of people who’ll talk to you about the mental attitudes you’ll need – grit, determination, resilience – and so forth, but fewer people are willing to make some solid predictions about the infrastructure you’ll need to have in place.
The fact is, you can have the best attitude in the world – but without the right equipment, you’re facing a very steep uphill battle.
For the vast majority of modern startups, IT is the backbone that they simply must have in place – but what exactly are you going to need? And how can you make sure the costs involved don’t knock your plans off their feet?
Here, we’ll consider some of the most important IT steps you should be taking as a startup – and explain some of the benefits involved.
Don’t let moving premises interrupt your business
Starting up is sometimes done with new premises from the get-go, but often, it’s something that involves working from any temporary or borrowed location before you set down your own company roots.
Whether this is the case for you – or if you’re already out-growing your initial premises, you’re likely to be staring down the barrel of putting your business on pause while the new location is up and running. If this just involves moving your equipment and your team, that might be a very small pause, but then again, if it involves waiting for your internet provider to put a new line into your office, you could be looking at weeks or even months of downtime.
For many businesses, this just isn’t feasible – so you hold off, make-do with what you’ve got – and potentially choke your growth.
There are IT solutions that mean this just isn’t necessary. If your internet requirements are fairly limited, then you’ll be able to set up an enterprise 4G router that’ll get you online with the addition of the appropriate SIMs from a reliable cellular network provider. Then again, if you’re looking at running a significant number of systems, a rapid site-deployment option might be right for you.
A rapid site-deployment set-up is essentially a plug-and-play enterprise level internet connection in a box. It’s configured by a specialist communications company and powered by a series of 4G SIMs, with their connections bonded to provide a powerful conduit to the internet or your network. The best bit? It’ll have you up and running in days – not months.
Have the right support in place
So, you’re setting up a small-scale network to build your business from? It’s a great step – but often leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when you look at the on-going cost that’s involved. Part of that ‘running cost’ is unavoidable; power, systems upgrades, etc – but the largest part of the outgoing is based on staffing costs.
Even a small business network requires the attention of someone to ‘keep the lights on’ – and that’s got to be someone with the right qualifications, on-going training, sickness and holiday cover – and much more. It’s not uncommon for the costs involved with simply staffing your network to be £40,000+ each year.
If that’s the kind of annual financial blow you’d rather not take, you’ll be delighted to hear that there’s a much more cost-effective (and arguably better all round) option:
Outsourcing your IT support.
An increasing number of businesses of all sizes are choosing to outsource their IT support – and there are plenty of good reasons to follow their lead. Firstly, there’s no requirement to employ staff – yet you’ve got access to a team of people who know your systems inside out. You won’t have to worry about the costly on-going training and accreditations IT staff require, nor will you ever have to worry about arranging appropriate cover for your mission-critical systems should an in-house team be off. Ultimately, it represents an exceptional business asset to have useful networking knowledge just a phone call away.
Whichever way you go – you need to make sure your systems don’t let you down. Downtime costs businesses an incredible amount of money – and when you’re starting out, you need to make sure you’re operating as efficiently as possible.
You don’t have to cut corners on IT
If you’re not familiar with recent IT developments, you could be forgiven for not being aware of the ‘as a service’ revolution that’s changed the way businesses buy their IT equipment and services.
In recent years, there’s been a boom in the establishment of initially small startup businesses. Startups generally share one key consideration when they open their doors – money is limited, and its important value is maximized at every turn.
This historically meant that IT represented a massive point of contention. Generally, IT was an upfront spend – software licenses and equipment needed to be bought and paid for before you configured a server or typed a document – so the question was; do you spend big on IT and hope that the business can grow to accommodate it? Or do you cut corners on IT and hope you can grow around these less than perfect circumstances?
Now, things are very different – and it’s because of the ‘as a service’ model. When you buy a product as a service, you’re not buying outright – instead, you’re essentially renting or paying-as-you-go.
A big component in how the tech giants have been able to provide this kind of service relates to cloud computing. Rather than solely having a piece of software installed locally, you can access the most up to date version of that software remotely – paying nothing more than a per-person per-month charge for as much or as little of the overall package you need.
It’s not just software that’s available on this basis either – increasingly, businesses are paying companies like Microsoft to set up virtual services on their behalf that remove the need for email servers, storage servers and much more. Using as a service resource like this means give you the agility that you need to scale and adjust your IT requirements in an ever competitive marketplace.
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