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Business Budget

The Fastest Way to Lose Track of Your Business Budget

Business budgeting is a very important part of running a business, regardless of whether you are a startup or an established company operating for years. Creating a budget is not a problem for most business owners. The challenge is sticking to the budget as the business grows and the spending expands.

The Problem of Hidden Costs

If you are like many owners of small and medium-sized businesses, you probably focus on the services and products you need when making a projection of your business expenses, which is what you should do. However, do you also consider the hidden costs of all these services and products? Are you even aware that many vendors today charge these hidden costs to unsuspecting business owners?

If you don’t regularly assess your purchases for these hidden costs, there’s a good chance that you are spending far more than you should be. You might go over your allotted budget. This mistake can have implications for your business.

Laying Employees Off

To bring down spending, many companies resort to the solution of laying employees off, believing that a smaller payroll can help the business get back on track financially. Unfortunately, cutting down on your workforce will increase the load of your remaining staff, which can then lead to stress, job dissatisfaction, and reduced performance.

Taking out Loans

Loans are a quick fix for any financial problem, but they can have heavy long-term consequences. If you get a loan with high repayment terms, it might eventually lead to even greater financial problems for your business.

Reduced Productivity

As hidden costs eat away at your business funds, you and your employees will naturally try to curb the spending. In doing so, you will inadvertently take people away from the jobs that you hired them to do. Your employees’ focus will need to be split between their actual duties and trying to solve the problems with business budgeting. The result of this would be much lower productivity.

Where Do Hidden Costs Come From?

Besides the blatant overcharging of some vendors, there are a few other sources of hidden costs that all business owners should know.

Loan Interests

Most business startups run on borrowed funds. If you have taken out a loan to help you establish your business, you need to include the interest on this loan in your business budget. You will also need to be very responsible for repaying such loans on time. Otherwise, the interest cost will increase and might take a heavy toll on your business funds.

Employee Benefits

In business budgeting, many new business owners make the mistake of accounting only for their employees’ salaries. They do not consider the employees’ benefits, which they will also need to grant.

No business owner expects to pay legal fees because no one wants to be involved in a lawsuit. But if these problems happen, you need to allocate funds for this in your budget.

Taxes

If you were an employee in the past, your company automatically deducted taxes from your salary. Now that you are a business owner, you will still need to pay taxes, and you will have to compute these on your own. If you forget to consider this in your business budgeting, you might be short on funds, and could even have problems with the IRS.

An Easy Solution

Staying within your budget can be a tough challenge with all the hidden expenses some vendors charge. To ensure that you do not spend more than you need to, you can use this business hidden expense calculator. This tool will reveal which services or products come with extra charges that you don’t need to pay. Once you are aware of these costs, you can plan your spending more efficiently and start saving valuable funds for your business. If you have any other questions, please contact us any time.

IT Security

The Importance of IT Security for Businesses

Doing business in this digital era comes with many advantages, thanks to the developments brought about by new technology. But this same technology also brings a new breed of threats that could have negative implications, from minor inconveniences to serious security risks.

First Line of Defense

You can install an antivirus program and take safety precautions to protect your business. This precaution is for anyone who wants to stay protected from viruses and other digital threats. However, the online environment is rife with potential threats that easily penetrate basic anti-malware programs.

Just think about it. How many email advertisements have you received in your inbox this month alone? Probably dozens, right? You don’t even need to open these emails, but if you accidentally click on even one of them, it will expose your system to other online threats and compromise the security of your business.

Staying One Step Ahead of the Hackers

Of course, the scenario we mentioned above is just a very mild example. Hackers these days are remarkably creative and aggressive in their strategies. Some hackers will steal your valuable data and destroy your business with just a few clicks, especially if you do not have a proper IT security system.

Potential Problems of Not Having IT Security for Businesses

If you do not defend your business with a reliable security system, you put your entire organization at risk and give cybercriminals an open invitation to infiltrate your network. Here are some potential problems you might face if you don’t invest in proper IT security for businesses.

Constant Risk While Surfing Online

While your employees are online, they can unintentionally pick up malware from the websites they visit or the links they click on. These malicious programs can easily attach themselves to your system and infect it.

Identity Theft

With information stored digitally, it is easy for hackers to steal personal and financial information, either for selling to others or for personal use. If your system is weakly protected, your employees might suddenly find themselves locked out of their workstations or discover that hackers have wiped their bank accounts clean.

System Shutdown

Viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malware can cause damage that causes your website to go down. You might recover with the help of an IT professional, but the hours or even minutes you have lost while you were offline can cause a massive loss of revenue for your business. Some malicious programs can have long-lasting implications that can drastically pull down the performance of your business.

Reduced Productivity

Certain viruses can attack even the most powerful servers. Even if you don’t fall victim to cyberattacks, the gradual deterioration of your computers’ speed and performance will significantly reduce the productivity of your employees. This issue can lead to a decline in their job satisfaction and cause problems for your business.

The Solution

An easy yet effective preventive solution to all these problems is to implement the right strategies for your IT security. Work closely with your IT provider or a managed service provider who specializes in IT security for businesses to get the best results.

The solution will begin with a comprehensive IT security audit where your MSP will thoroughly assess your IT infrastructure and check for vulnerabilities in your network. After this, they will create a custom security solution that fits your business requirements perfectly.

In our on-demand webinar, we discuss how we can help improve the IT security of your business. Click here to register for the webinar, where you will also discover the many ways that a managed service provider can positively impact your business.  Or, if you have any other questions, please contact us any time.

Problems & Implications 3

Do you remember Business Operations before the Cloud?

The cloud network for businesses is a new development. While widely used today, before it came into existence, many businesses had to make do with the limited in-house resources that were available. If you have not yet signed up for a cloud network for businesses, you are probably experiencing these limitations that can hold your business back.

Using a Cloud Network to Help Your Business

Business growth and success are the primary goals of any business owner. If you want your business to grow, you will usually have to hire more people, invest in more advanced IT infrastructure, buy more complex equipment, and allocate more resources for the different operations of your business. But doing this will require massive funding that most small business owners do not have. Fortunately, the cloud network for businesses has come to the rescue. Let’s look at the following scenarios.

Expensive IT Costs

When you rely solely on your own company’s resources, you will have no choice but to buy all the software and hardware that you will need for your business operations. We all know how expensive these products can be, but you will have no choice but to buy them if you want your business to grow and succeed.

Limited Productivity

Whenever IT issues arise within your business, your in-house staff will have to take time off from their regular duties to address the problems. IT might not even be their specialty, so there is no guarantee that they can resolve the situation. It reduces their productivity because they won’t be able to focus on their core responsibilities.

Frequent and Extensive Downtime

Software and hardware both need regular upgrading so your business can keep up with the rest of the industry. But installing these upgrades takes a long time, perhaps a couple of hours or more than a day. During these periods, your business will essentially be on hold. And this creates a hassle for your employees and customers.

Lack of Mobility

Traditional business setups require employees to be tied to their desks for the entire business day because everything they need is on their workstations. If you assign one of your employees to work in the field, for instance, they might have to wait until they get back to the office before being able to access their data.

The Solution

These scenarios present an assortment of issues that can drastically limit the performance of your business. While the cited situations are very different, we can improve them with a single solution: cloud computing. If this is an unfamiliar concept to you, there is no need to worry. Your IT provider can give you a thorough overview and assist you in getting a custom cloud solution for your business.

Cloud Computing Is the Answer

A cloud network for businesses costs very little compared to purchasing all the needed software and hardware. You will enjoy the most advanced IT tools for a modest monthly fee. It can also maximize your employees’ productivity. With the right network in place, you will no longer have to pull your staff from their regular duties to fix IT problems.

Upgrades for software and hardware will still be necessary, but with a cloud network, these upgrades will only take a few minutes. Most of the time, you won’t even notice that an update has taken place because the cloud service provider will handle it all for you.

If you want to find out more about the advantages that you can get from cloud networks for businesses and from working with a managed services provider, tune in to our on-demand webinar. This webinar will enlighten you on the benefits of cloud computing and its positive impacts on your customers and staff. You can contact us anytime!

Business Operations
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Why is Your Phone System Important for Business?

Mobile phones have evolved tremendously in recent years and now have many powerful features never seen in previous phone systems. Many businesses rely on mobile phones as vital tools in business operations, and some have ditched their phone lines completely in favor of mobile devices. But is this the best decision? Have business phone systems become irrelevant or even obsolete?

The Importance of Business Phone Systems

The value of modern communication systems is incontestable. But this doesn’t mean that traditional business phone systems are no longer needed. Let’s look at some of their main uses for modern businesses.

Integration of Several Phone Functions

Business phone systems remain in place because they allow multiple phone functions to integrate into one efficient hub, making them easy to manage.

Conventional features like call forwarding, call screening, and call logs are staples of all business phone systems. In addition, we can seamlessly integrate them with some of the most popular online tools, like Google Apps, Microsoft Outlook, or your helpdesk application.

Cost Efficiency

Compared with conventional phone systems and their high maintenance costs, modern business phone systems are very cost-effective. From installation to operation, maintenance to updates, modern phone systems are incredibly affordable.

Scalability

Another plus for modern phone systems is that they are completely scalable. You don’t have to worry much about how many phones you need or which features to install. Modern business phone systems expand as your business grows. If you need to cut back, it is easy to eliminate the units and features that are no longer useful for your business. This way, you don’t get stuck paying for services you don’t need.

Potential Problems with Having No Proper Phone System

Despite the many advantages that modern business phone systems offer, some traditionalists still think they are an extravagance. They stuck with their old phone systems, believing that they were still serving them well in the modern business age. Unfortunately, this loyalty might lead to several problems for your business and your employees.

Lack of Privacy for Employees

Without a proper business phone system, it’s hard to keep business and personal communications separate. Using your mobile phone number for business calls might sound practical, but it won’t be long before this practice takes a toll on your private life. Business associates will reach you even while you’re away from the office or vacationing with your family.

Lack of Security for Business Data

On the flip side, losing or misusing mobile phones is bad for business. If you lose your mobile phone used for business calls, critical business data might be at risk. With a proper business phone system installed, we can easily separate business and personal calls with simple automation and forwarding settings. And it can store business data as needed.

Limited Access for Clients and Business Partners

If you do not have a modern business phone system in place, your clients will only be able to call you during your business hours. If your business closes at 5 pm, your customers will have to wait until the morning to call you back.

While some clients might wait for someone to answer, others will move on to the next open shop and do their business there. The lack of a business phone system can cost you many potential customers.

The Solution

These are a few ways it will limit your business if you do not have a proper business phone system installed. Fortunately, the solution is simple. All you need to do is get in touch with us and ask about a custom phone solution that fits the specific needs of your business.

Each business is unique, so there are no one-size-fits-all business phone systems. As your IT provider, we will assess your needs and provide you with the exact phone system that you need.

To learn more about the benefits of a proper business phone system, you can check out our on-demand webinar where we talk about how managed services providers can help you with your business communication system requirements. And, as always, please let us know if you have any questions.

operating environment

Why Is the Operating Environment So Important?

People today are well-versed with technology compared to a decade or so ago. But are you sure that the technical skills of your employees are enough to maintain an efficient and productive business structure for your company? Do you think you can stay ahead of your competitors in the industry using only amateur IT abilities?

Many of us consider hiring an IT provider more of a luxury than a necessity. We believe the technical know-how of our in-house staff is more than sufficient to ensure the smooth operations of our business. Unfortunately, the arguments against hiring MSPs might create an assortment of negative implications for your business and employees. How long can your employees manage your technology before something goes wrong?

Potential Problems of Not Having a Proper IT Provider

In the absence of a proper operating environment managed by a professional IT provider. The performance, and ultimately the revenue, of your business will be severely limited. You will miss out on several advantages that can otherwise put you in a very competitive sport in your industry. To find out more, read the following scenarios and see if any of them seem familiar to you.

Lack of Coordination between Multiple Locations

Fast and secure communication guarantees a smooth flow of your business operations, especially if you are running from multiple locations. There has to be an automated system that provides quick and easy access to information in real-time to ensure accuracy in transactions. Even the slightest delay in data transmission or the lapse in coordination can lead to costly damages for your business.

Insufficient Bandwidth to Efficiently Handle All Business Operations

Have your staff may become impatient if the Internet connection is too slow? In some unfortunate situations, the system can crash during busy periods because your bandwidth can’t handle the heavy traffic. When that happens, your employees will be unproductive. And it could cause a decline in your productivity as time goes on.

Falling behind Current Technology Trends

IT is a rapidly changing industry. New tools and products designed to streamline business operations and improve overall performance pop up every day. When you’re deep in the daily grind, you might not be aware of these developments. You might be stuck using the old methods while your industry rivals are enjoying the perks of modern systems.

On the other hand, your IT provider is always up to date on all the most recent developments. They are aware of and have access to all the newest methods and techniques, and they can bring your operating environment updated with these tools.

The Solution

The scenarios we’ve covered are some implications of not having a proper IT provider to handle your business operations. With a team of IT professionals or a Managed Services Provider handling your needs, you won’t need to worry about these issues.

As your MSP, one of the most important things we can do for you is to assess your current operating environment. After checking the state of your network, we can make recommendations and implement the necessary adjustments to improve your day-to-day operations.

For more on how your operations environment affects your business performance, watch our on-demand webinar that demonstrates the various ways a professional MSP can boost your operations and take your business to a whole new level of success.

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