More than six in 10 executives expect their businesses to expand in the next year, according to the recently released third quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey. This would be the highest rate of expansion since early 2015 as profits are expected to increase at more than three times the rate estimated at the beginning of this year.
As exciting as the prospect of growth can be, business expansion does not come without risk. If not properly managed, business expansion can put intense pressure on your staff and your company finances. You may need to adjust your operational model to ensure that your company is capable of supporting additional products, services and customers in a cost-effective way.
Technology plays an important role in business expansion. Your network must be capable of supporting the size and scope of your organization not just today, but five years from now. Consumer-grade networking hardware and software may have worked until now, but business-grade tools will be required as you expand. Business expansion often means additional competition, so you need communication and collaboration tools that improve decision-making and customer service and help you maintain a competitive edge.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Can employees reliably access the network from any location and device?
- Are employees limited to phone and email for communication, or do they have the flexibility to use text, video, and instant messaging applications?
- Are employees still scheduling meetings and sharing files by emailing back and forth, or do they have access to modern file-sharing platforms and shared calendars?
- Do business meetings still require all participants to gather in the same room, or are you using video conferencing applications?
- Do employees deal with performance disruptions when too many users are connected to the Wi-Fi network?
- Do your employees know how to take full advantage of productivity suite functionality? Are you using a version of your productivity suite that can support a growing user base?
- Do you spend more time putting out IT-related fires than using IT to develop and support revenue-producing initiatives?
Technological shortcomings may seem like minor inconveniences at this point. However, a growing company can’t afford to be held back by unreliable network connections, limited communications capabilities, spotty Wi-Fi, an old version of software and other issues. These problems have a direct impact on productivity and operational efficiency, both of which are critical to successful business expansion.
If you’re planning to expand your business, you need a comprehensive strategy to ensure alignment between people, processes and technology. The strategy should guide investments in technology that help employees do their jobs better and support specific business goals.
A managed services provider (MSP) can help you develop and implement such a strategy. An MSP can assess your IT infrastructure, business processes, and growth projections and determine how technology can be used to achieve specific objectives. Once a plan is in place, an MSP can oversee the deployment of new tools and services, and ensure that this technology is actually being used and integrated with day-to-day tasks. An MSP can also provide tech support so you can spend more time growing your business and less time putting out fires.
SSD’s Total IT Management solution makes it possible for growing businesses to maximize productivity. If you’re planning to expand your business, let us make sure you have the necessary tools and strategy to support that growth.