SMB IT: Hiring Your First IT Service Provider Part 1

February 11, 2009

You are a small and growing business that is looking to hire your first technology services provider.

As a non technology business owner or manager, that can be a great sign of growth, or it can be a nightmare.

What questions do you ask? 

what are the pitfalls to avoid?

Where can you get help choosing?

Many questions! – But first, take a step back

Before you go any further, some important questions will be key to your decision.

Goals And Drivers

First, what are your goals? 

And second, what are your business drivers?

Before thinking of looking for that provider, know the answers to these questions.

Why These Questions Matter

Think of the differences between having your income tax preparation performed by one of those fill in the boxes tax prep companies that spring up at tax time, vs being performed by a tax accountant that knows you, your industry, and applicable tax codes. And that can utilize that knowledge to  recommend tax reduction and defferal strategies.

It is not to say that one is worse than the other, but your choice will depend on your goals and business drivers.

Looking for an IT service provider needs the same answers.

Like the tax example, those answers will drive the type of relationship, and the type of service provider that you are looking for.

Perhaps all you want is a phone number to call when something breaks.

On the flip side, perhaps your goal is to look for advice and recommendations on how to leverage or improve your technology assets.

Your drivers are also key, because you need to identify if you are planning to utilize technology as purely a support role (ie to run E-Mail and your accounting software) or more strategic, perhaps to improve, or even drive revenue.

Like the tax example above, it is not to say that one is better than the other.

But knowing the goals and drivers allows you to ensure that you are aligning your research with them. 

Part two of this will continue on looking for that provider after you have these questions answered!

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2 Responses to “SMB IT: Hiring Your First IT Service Provider Part 1”

  1. good advice, Elliot!

    Business owners should also consider Managed Services. Having their networks continuously monitored and maintained can dramatically increase availability / continuity.

    Waiting for the “break-fix” could be too late!

    • elliotross Says:

      Mitch !

      Thanks for dropping by!

      I certainly will be covering that 🙂

      That was post #1 of what will be a least a dozen!

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