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Resources: Data Center

Business ROI

Do You Know Your Business ROI?  

Business ROI, or return on investment, is a tool used to measure the profitability of your business based on your various costs and the profits generated by these investments. The performance of the business ROI can also have an assortment of implications on the different aspects of your business.  

A positive ROI indicates that an investment has delivered welcome profits. But it’s more than just a metric used to monitor the feasibility of your business investments. By maintaining a solid ROI, you are also creating positive effects on your total cost of ownership, R & D, job security, business continuity, and many more.  

It Provides a Financial Metric 

The primary function of a business ROI is to provide a means to measure the success of your business per investment made. It lets you gauge how well or how poorly you are doing, letting you know which to keep and which to drop. For instance, an investment with a decidedly positive business ROI is worth keeping, while you should avoid an investment that shows a negative ROI at all costs. It also lets you compare different profitable assets to find the best choices.  

What is TCO? 

The total cost of ownership, or TCO, is the sum of the purchase price and the operating costs of an asset over its lifetime. As your ROI grows, your total cost of ownership on your various assets also increases.  

More Access to Resources for Innovation 

The more your business earns, the more accessible resources become. Once you can set up your business plans and strategies to generate a good business ROI, you will have started a dependable cycle of profits that will provide you with funds for research and development.  

Reduce Investment Losses 

Thorough planning is crucial each time you make any kind of investment. Study the feasibility of each business investment to increase the chances of getting a good business ROI. There will always be a risk because you never really know if an investment will give you good returns or not, but with careful thought and planning, you can stick to those investments that are more likely to generate positive results.  

Job Security 

One of the contributing factors to excellent business returns is the performance of its workforce. If your employees are delivering results, there won’t be any reason for you to downsize or shuffle your workforce. Thus, a higher business ROI increases the job security of your employees and may even give them better benefits and perks. 

Competitive Advantage 

In any industry, it is among the primary goals of a business to have a competitive advantage over its rivals. Maintaining a good return on investment gives you an advantage and makes you more attractive to potential clients when compared to your competitors. These days, potential clients and customers don’t just look at the product or service you offer. They also examine the internal components of your business, which is why having a favorable business ROI will be an advantage. 

An MSP Can Help Boost Your Returns 

Exerting considerable focus and effort towards improving your business ROI is very worthwhile because, as you can see, it can affect several areas of your business. Improving your returns does not only mean getting higher revenue. It also has a lot of positive implications for your business, your employees, and your clients.  

One way of ensuring that you get a good business ROI from your investments is by working with a trusted managed service provider. Your MSP can provide multiple tools and strategies to keep you on track to achieving your goals and generating profits. 

For some extra help, we have prepared a comprehensive on-demand webinar that clearly illustrates what could happen to your business if you do not have a managed service provider by your side, as well as the multiple negative impacts this can have on your employees and your clients.  

Conclusion 

If you want to learn more about how an MSP can help improve your business ROI, contact us and we will be happy to discuss how our services can help boost your returns and your overall business performance.  

5 Reasons Why Planning Business Growth Matters

When starting a business, it is only natural for the business owner to dream of success and growth for their new venture. But having a dream is not enough. There also needs to be a strategic business plan to ensure that the business will thrive.

Unfortunately, many small business owners have the mindset that planning is only for large companies. Some of them don’t think that learning business planning skills is necessary. They don’t realize that planning for growth is one of the most important things you should do for your business. Here are five tips to help you build your business plan.

Good Plans Lead to Good Business Decisions


From the moment you start your business, and every day after, there will be decisions to make, both big and small. Often, you will make these decisions on the spur of the moment, without the opportunity to sit down and carefully examine the pros and cons of each one.

If you do not plan for this, it’s easy to make the wrong choices. This mistake is especially true if your business is expanding by adding new locations or hiring more employees. But if you have a solid business plan geared towards growth, it will guide you in making wise decisions every time.

Planning Helps in Setting up the Budget


Having a budget plan is essential to keep your business expenses under control. Along with business growth, there will also be a lot of unexpected costs. An efficient budget helps ensure you have sufficient cash flow to keep the business going with the right balance between income and expenses, despite the adjustments you must make.

You can’t just go into a business without a clear idea of where your funds are going. Therefore, business planning for cost and budget should consider your present situation and several possible future scenarios.

Avoid Software Licensing Liabilities


Running a business involves the use of different software that requires licenses. Failure to comply with the terms and restrictions of the license can have dire consequences. Therefore, it is crucial to have a plan for software licensing before you purchase any.

Most software that businesses use these days is expensive, and that is why you need to budget for it from the beginning and decide which ones you need for your business. This way, you won’t have to purchase unnecessary platforms that you won’t end up using.


Planning Helps with Change Management


Change is not only inevitable in business but is a sign of growth. When you take on new personnel and expand locations, this will lead to significant changes in your business structure.


Without a well-laid-out plan, you can easily get lost amidst all these changes. But if you can implement effective business planning strategies for managing whatever changes might come your way, unexpected events will not catch you off guard. Instead, you will make a seamless transition into the new phase of your business.


Infrastructure Planning Keeps Your Business Updated with Changes


Technology changes quickly. When running a business, you need to be prepared to implement frequent upgrades and updates to your IT infrastructure. Getting left behind by your rivals in the industry will have a negative effect on your business, so you must focus a considerable amount of your business planning on infrastructure changes.


The Role of an MSP in Business Planning for Growth


Nobody knows your business and its objectives better than you do. However, there will be times when you will need expert advice, particularly in areas that are not part of your core competencies. IT, for instance, or financial and legal matters. When you partner with a dependable managed service provider, you will gain an advantage, especially if you have ambitious plans for growing your business.

As a managed service provider, we have all the tools and the knowledge for business planning to facilitate a continuous and organized shift toward whatever new direction you are planning for your business. If you want to learn more, please contact us so we can discuss with you the many ways that we can be of service to your business.

To find out more about why planning business growth matters, watch this on-demand webinar where Crystal demonstrates the various ways of how a professional MSP take your business to a whole new level of success.

Planning Business Growth
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.

How Secure is Your Data?

Hacking, Phishing, Ransomware, and over-all Data Breaches are on the rise. It seems that every advancement we make with data security, hackers are able to find a way through.

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of keeping your data secure. While we are using Medical Offices as an example, this information crosses over to almost every industry. If you use cloud storage, proprietary software, and store personal data, this blog holds valuable information for you.

Your Clients Put Their Trust in You

Medical professionals are not only entrusted with caring for the health of their patients, but also for keeping their information private. Given that, it’s no wonder why physicians must be some of the most trustworthy people in our communities.

However, on the other end of the spectrum are those who actively look to take advantage of the information that medical practices and hospital systems have accumulated over the years. But why are medical records so valuable and what can be done to protect them?

Richer Than You Think

Medical databases are among the top targets for hackers with more and more breaches taking place each year — but why? CBS News reported that while a social security number may be worth $1 and a credit card number $110 on the dark web (average numbers), a single medical record can be worth a whopping $1000 or more!

The reason for the value is that your medical records typically have more personal information than any other source out there. This may include your social security number, address, phone number, banking information, and a lot more. With so much at play, it’s no surprise why hackers are starting to focus more on these records than any other.

Who’s Bears the Responsibility?

Everyone in the healthcare industry in the US is aware that HIPPA prevents sharing medical information except under particular circumstances. But what if that information left your hands and was spread involuntarily? Although it may be a gray area, there’s still the strong likelihood that the medical office could be held liable, at least in a civil court — especially if they haven’t done everything possible to avoid the hack. Don’t forget that data breaches cost the healthcare industry upwards of $6 billion per year.

How to Protect Your Patients — and Yourself

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are often used by the medical industry to help avoid such situations. One way we do this is by helping these customers when it comes time to update ICD codes, (International Classification of Diseases). This can be tricky since HIPPA approved systems aren’t always the easiest to upgrade. Not only is the computer update important, but the people updates are as well.

Also, there is plenty for your MSP to do in helping you avoid HIPPA violations. For instance, any device used that contains or has access to patient information needs to be encrypted. In 2016, one iPhone that was lost at a single facility ended up created a $650,000 fine. Remember: it’s not your fault if the device is lost or stolen, but it is your fault if you failed to encrypt the information beforehand.

In a similar vein, when you dispose of older devices, you can’t just toss them in a dumpster and go about your day. These devices must be wiped clean, often in a way more substantial than just deleting records. While that might be acceptable if you want to dispose of your personal devices, those who understand computers can quickly get access to files that weren’t properly deleted. A good MSP can make that happen as part of their standard service.

Who Watches the Watchers?

Where you store your data is also a major part of data security. As we previously mentioned, some medical practices have used standard cloud storage and paid a heavy price when data was easily breached. While it’s true that cloud storage is easy and often a more inexpensive option, you have far less control over the information and the security of that data if it is out of your hands. Unless you use a top-of-the-line service, your data will be vulnerable as weaker services make prime targets for hackers. After all, why go after an individual when you can get data from thousands of companies at once through a cloud service?

Even if you decide to go with local storage, who has access to your data? With the genuine value of these records along with the absolute risk of liability, if things go sour, you need to be very careful with whom you allow access to the database. MSPs make sure that not only will your information be safe, but that the people who oversee your databased have all the proper education and certifications to avoid any problems down the line.

Bottom Line

Let’s get real for a second here. Medicine and medical technology are advancing at breakneck speeds. Would most people feel comfortable with a physician who hasn’t been to a class or conference since graduating from medical school? Of course not!

Data security is exactly the same. As hackers become more and more advanced, MSPs must stay one step ahead of them to protect our clients. That’s why we make it a point to continually train our team on new security options and protocols.

If you don’t have a robust security plan in place for your office or business, don’t wait to give us a call. Every moment you’re not protected is a moment of opportunity for a pirate to rob you over your clients’ trust and confidence.

If your organization is starting to fall behind over a lack of attention to your IT, contact us today. Our expert team will be more than happy to evaluate your needs and help you implement and maintain the most reasonable and secure solution. The only thing you have to lose is sleepless nights.

Two Ways to Install a VoIP Phone System

In our last two blogs, we’ve discussed the pros, cons, and popularity of using VoIP Phone Systems for small businesses. And we have concluded that VoIP technology is only going to become more popular moving into the future. If you’re tired of high phone bills, particularly from long-distance or international calls, then you need to look into getting a VoIP phone system.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately, mostly about what it takes to install the system. So, in today’s blog that’s what we’re going to address. We’ll give you a general overview of what it takes to get your VoIP phones ordered, installed, and operating correctly in your office. Then, we’ll offer you an even more efficient way to get them installed. Let’s take a look at the first way to install your VoIP phone system.

Do it Yourself

The first step in the process should be doing a little research about what VoIP is, how it works, what types of phones are available, and how to set them up. When researching phones, keep a list of what you need for your office staff, then tally up the number of remote phones you’ll be using. You can start by simply replacing what you are currently using, but that may be overkill.

With VoIP technology, you have the ability to make and receive calls through your computer workstations. And you can also set-up cellphones with the installation of an app, to receive automatically-forwarded calls, so you can answer business calls no matter where you are. So, if you would like to take advantage of these options, you may not need to order as many phones as you thought.

You can order the phones with your current phone numbers, or any number you want, pre-installed. Since the phones use IP addresses as their location, they are configured with a link from your phone number to that specific IP address.

When you receive the phones, connect them to your LAN, (local area network), through the network connection at your workstations. With VoIP, there is no need to run a separate phone line. Once installed and turned on, access the IP Address of the phone and set it up using the manufacturer’s software. Under Account Settings, set up the username and password for each phone, then connect it to the server.

Now the account is registered and the user can begin making and receiving calls. But there are still more steps you’ll need to take. In the menu of the phones, set up all the user options you want. Things like; the number of call lines you want, speed dial, voice mail, direct pickup, group pickup, intercom, redial, record, and a whole lot more. After that, you can either record a custom message or use one of the prerecorded messages available.

Many VoIP Desk Phones have a Touch Screen, so you can dial using either the screen or the standard numbered buttons. You will probably want to hold a training session to teach your employees the new processes. Give yourself some time to do a decent amount of research so you can be sure you’re getting exactly what you need. Then you’ll need the time to install and configure the phones, set up the functions you’d like to use, and train your employees.

Easy, right? You got this!

Now let’s take a look at your second option:

Bring us in to install it for you.

With us doing the install, you’ll be up and running in no time. We’ve already done the research and we even have our preferred vendors who we trust. Disruption during the install is minimal. We will just need a few minutes of access to the work area, phone, computer, and cabling. Phones will be installed, activated, and tested. Once the network connection is good, that’s it! You’re set to use your new VoIP phone!

We can even help show your staff how to use the new system.

The best news is that we can fold the new system into your existing monthly agreement.

That means no more separate phone bill. No more overcharges for long-distance and international calls. No more data overages to worry about.

Let us know when you’re ready to start saving money.