Failure: It’s not a subject that’s likely to be on your daily list of things to think about if you’re a decision maker in a small business. The internet is awash with motivational quotes and inspirational articles that will keep you focused on achieving – but if this is all that matters, why do so many successful business people cite their failures as some of the most important moments in their careers?
Failure’s the big hole in the middle of the street – if you’re aware of it and you’ve seen people falling in, you can do your level best to avoid it. If you decide instead to close your eyes and pretend it’s not there? Well, then you’re resting your fate on luck – and that’s not a factor anyone likes to see in a business plan.
At VectorCloud we’ve seen businesses fly – and we’ve seen businesses fail. We’d like to share with you the main 4 reasons that Scottish SMB’s end up closing their doors – and any IT suggestions we can make that might help prevent it happening to you.
When you’ve got a great idea it’s easy to let your enthusiasm drive you forward before you’ve really done the maths. An overspend on developing your product or service is quickly compounded with staffing costs, overheads and those unexpected costs that seem to indiscriminately slice numbers off the bottom line. Costs add up – and when they spiral, they can sometimes mean the end for small business.
IT infrastructure is often a cost that people drastically underestimate – but it doesn’t need to be. Working with an IT partner from the very beginning of your business means that you’ve always got the best knowledge and experience on your side. Why spend more than you need? Why think you’ve got the answer to a problem when there’s a company with 20 years of experience at the end of the phone?
Working with an IT partner can be a cost that grows as your need grows – not just a massive spend on infrastructure that you may or may not need.
Another trapping of the enthusiastic decision maker is the decision to strive forward for that big contract or job when you just don’t have the means to back it up. “Go for it and we’ll worry about how to deliver later” has left many businesses in very precarious situations, logistically, financial and legally.
This is a big problem if your IT is not planned correctly – if your business suddenly needs to expand, have you factored in what that means to your network? If the answer is no, your plan might be cut dead by performance issues or sudden big costs.
If you’re the kind of business that could explode overnight – then hosted or cloud based systems might be right for you – especially given the ability to quickly up or downscale based on your need – and without the logistical headaches of making expensive changes to your network.
The last few years have seen a massive rise in the number of small businesses attacked by cyber criminals. These hackers and malware creators aren’t stupid – they know that your business is far less likely to be secure than a bigger more lucrative target – and all that customer, employee and company data is worth money to them.
If you’re not backed up you’re at the mercy of the cyber-criminals who grow more sophisticated every day. Not only that – but you’re also risking your data with employees who could make mistakes, systems that could fail and other unforeseen circumstances.
Around 60% of small businesses that have to suspend trading because of a catastrophic system failure never reopen their doors. Back-up and make sure you’re one of the 40%.
Good intentions count for very little when you’re starting out in business – sure, you intended to get something finished or pass that job on – but if you didn’t, it’s your business that’s suffering. You can’t under-estimate how important it is to be organised and able to get an overview of everything that’s happening at a quick glance. If you don’t – time and money is running away from you.
Using a project management tool from the outset is a crucial way of knowing what’s worked for you, what’s currently working and what’s going to be needed in the future. Sure, you’ve got an email system – but working across 6 different email threads in between customer enquiries isn’t going to achieve much – unless you’re just looking to get a headache!
Get organised with a good IT project management tool that you can access across all your devices and you will be certain that every minute and pound spent is being spent wisely.
If any of these issues sound familiar to you – don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to us about how VectorCloud might be able to intervene with IT solutions that we know keep failure at bay.
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