Far too many of the IT support companies out there seem to believe that a small business is simply a miniaturized version of a large corporation or other enterprise. As anyone who has run, managed, or worked in an SMB knows, this is not the case at all. A small business operates in an almost completely different environment. Instead of hundreds or even thousands of stockholders that are not involved in the slightest in the running of the company, an SMB is likely to be owned by a single individual or a small group. In both cases, the owners may very well be heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.
When it comes to meeting the computing environment needs of an SMB, an IT company needs to understand how to work with the small business. Instead of being able to tailor IT solutions to certain departments, it is going to be more important to work with individuals and match solutions to their real workflow, which may frequently involve many different aspects of the business since in an SMB, it is typical for a single employee to ‘wear many different hats’.
Input Versus Practicality
Quite often, what these busy employees need is a solution that can emerge ‘from the box’ ready to use. This means finding IT solutions that are highly flexible and can be adapted to a variety of situations and contexts. IT companies that are more accustomed to working with large businesses may be in the habit of seeking extensive input from division managers, but an SMB with its more limited resources tends to focus much more on cost control and practicality.
The Local Advantage
SMBs are also much more likely than large businesses to desire, and demand, a local solution to their IT needs. Working with a head office several states away has little appeal for the SMB, in part because such businesses may face significant cash flow challenges. When they need assistance, they need it fast, which means working with a firm in their local area.
Small businesses, such as those in Boston, Philadelphia or New York will be happiest when they work with a local IT support firm. The local advantage means being able to have on-site, personalized support when needed and also makes it much more feasible to frequently meet in person to have those all-important discussions about long range planning for big changes like virtualization or a new encryption system.
Yes, technology does make distance learning possible, but for many SMBs in need of an IT consulting firm, nothing beats having personal on-site expertise.