When you launch a start-up company, it’s a good idea to gather a strong and supportive team around you. Your internal team might be made up of employees, mentors and investors. Your external team might be made up of support services like accountants and IT tech support. Like everyone else you work with, the tech support company you choose to employ, must provide you with the services you need, in a way that makes sense to you. If you get the right IT team on board, it can reduce stress and free you up to concentrate on your core business.
Choosing the right tech support company can make a huge difference to how smoothly your business runs, and to your bottom line. It’s worth conducting the analysis outlined below so you can make a good choice. Identify your needs and compare them with the services that local companies offer.
Identify the tech support needs of your business
You can’t start looking for a provider until you know what you need. Analyse what stage your business is at, and where you would like it to be in 12 months at least (your IT provider should be able to support your expansion efforts).
- Do you have office space or are you operating remotely?
- How many employees or devices need to be connected?
- Will you need email, cyber-security, hardware, point-of-sale terminals?
- Do you have any experience with particular operating systems or software that you want to include?
If you are a start-up and have access to an advisory board or mentors, seek their advice. Even if you are unsure about what you need, spend some time thinking about what you’d like to achieve with your IT. Any information you can give the potential vendors will help them tailor the establishment requirements and ongoing support to help you achieve your goals.
Strongly consider local support options
There are a lot of big name providers out there. They do good work and often support very large multinational corporations. While there’s nothing wrong with hiring a larger company, if you are just starting out, it pays to choose a firm that is close to home. Local tech support firms:
- Understand the on the ground reality,
- Are often smaller themselves which means you’re likely to deal with the same engineers and client manager each time, which means continuity,
- Can offer faster onsite service if required,
- Have servers that are likely located in close proximity, leading to faster processing speeds,
- Are in the same time zone and can be reached with a simple local phone call rather than an international call, further reducing costs.
Establish the tech support company’s focus, style and strengths
Every company is different. Alongside technical support, qualifications and fee structure, you’ll also want to consider the working style of the company. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the company website, follow up by phone or during your meeting. Does the company:
- Have cyber-security and backup methods as a top priority?
- Provide the services and tools that your business needs?
- Offer support and advice for your preferred operating systems and software?
- Have experience supporting your preferred brand of hardware (smart devices, computers)?
- Stay across tech-industry news? Are they up to date with new releases and challenges?
- Communicate with you and your team in a way you understand? Do you feel comfortable asking questions?
- Have qualifications or credentials with third parties? Partnering with large software companies shows additional levels of training and experience.
- Seek to support your business into the future by accommodating expansions, including office relocation?
Key questions to ask potential providers
Once you have an idea of your needs, you should be prepared to seek out potential tech support providers. During the consultation, the company is likely to recommend potential solutions for you. Don’t be afraid to probe these suggestions to get better insight. Ask some of the following questions:
- You’ve recommended these features, are they necessary for my business situation?
- Are these recommended features/systems an industry requirement?
- Will your solution help me reach new markets and more customers?
- Does this technology make HR/employee management easier?
- Can I use this technology to manage sales and inventory smoothly?
- What are your fees, and what is included under that fee structure?
- What happens if something goes wrong and I need help urgently?
- What if my business grows faster than expected and my needs change?
Review and select a provider
Once you’ve gathered up the available information, review it all. Select the provider that best meets your requirements, taking everything into account. You should feel comfortable with them, as they will be working closely with you. Follow up with any final clarifications, and then bring your chosen team on board.
The steps are simple – establish your needs, investigate companies that appear to meet them, and vet their offerings closely. If you choose well from the outset, you can spend more time investing in your goals instead of trying to get across a very complex subject that can carry a lot of risk. Let your tech support partners help you establish good data security protocol from the beginning and you’ll have great digital hygiene, too. Finally, you have the chance to build an excellent relationship with a tech support team that can meet your needs well into the future.
About EC-MSP, your tech support partners
EC-MSP are one of the most trusted IT support providers in London. If you would like more help advice and support establishing your business IT support needs, contact us today to see how we can help.