Here’s a quick list of the top 11 ways I’ve found that SMBs misuse their Information Technology and waste their money:
11. Put your “server room” in the women’s restroom. (Yes… I saw this at one small business)
10. Wait until your new hire shows up to call the IT guy and notify him you need a computer, network jack and cell phone.
9. When your printer dies go to Best Buy and pick a new one up without consulting your IT department first.
8. “Plan” for your servers to last 5 years or longer.
7. Always choose the value (cheap) option.
6. Treat your IT department like they’re overhead that detracts from profit rather than an enabler for productivity and revenue generation.
5. Don’t consider business continuity and disaster recovery – a little downtime never hurt anyone!
4. Build it and they will come. Install a system for a need that doesn’t exist yet and that nobody wants because it has “great features.”
3. Don’t provide ongoing technical training to your IT department.
2. Don’t bother budgeting for equipment replacement and IT support.
1. Wait until your equipment breaks to fix it instead of monitoring, preventively maintaining, and replacing it on a regular basis.
So, if your small or medium business has fallen victim to one or more of these what should you do? Think first, plan for growth & failures, treat IT as a valuable asset rather than a money sink, find a good trusted advisor (CIO/CTO/consultant) and USE them. It’s their job to think about this stuff. If you need help finding a good consultant, just talk to other local business owners about who they use and interview three or four (or more!) before making your decision.
It’s hard to be patient when you have no income. Even though I voluntarily put myself in this position, I see the proceeds from the sale of my business dwindling as the months fly past and I still haven’t found the “perfect” job. I know many people would say I was crazy to sell a profitable, established business and return to a job market that is difficult at best, but the decision just felt right and I still stand by it. I just can’t wait to move on to what’s next though. I feel like I’ve been in limbo long enough.
When I sold the business, I bought myself some time to go take some training classes, certify in ITIL, and do some networking while looking for that just right opportunity. The problem is that I cannot just wait forever for that opportunity to appear. What to do then? Make a plan, act on it, follow through and… be patient.
“Hurry up and wait” is a phrase that is often used in the technology world. When you have a computer system fail and you need help, your business may be losing money every minute you sit on hold with technical support. You need to hurry up and get it working, but you have to wait for assistance. A non-tech example is Walmart. I hate shopping at Walmart, and as soon as I walk in I’m in a hurry to leave, but I have to shop and then wait in line to check out. I would just as soon bypass the technical support call and the shopping in Walmart and just move straight to the result… a fixed computer or a full fridge!
The last five months have taught me again the lesson of patience. I made a transition plan before I sold my business. Yes, I had hoped to have a job before now, but everything is still okay, we’re not broke… yet. There are lots of good opportunities and especially now after the slowness at the end of the year things seem to be picking up in a VERY good way, but it takes time to go through the process of submitting resumes, going to interviews and waiting for decisions. I enjoy interviewing (weird I know) but am really tired of all the waiting and paperwork. Can’t I just have the job of my dreams already? Hurry up and wait.
I’ve now been on a couple of very promising interviews. One in particular I’m very excited about and I really liked what I heard from the team that interviewed me. It’s a big company though and they can’t just say the day of the interview, “you’re hired!” So, I continue to hurry up and wait. Work hard, be patient, it will come.
My wife is due in February and we’re getting the house ready for the new baby by moving my boys in to a new room and preparing the nursery. I think we both want for the baby to hurry up and get here but we must wait. In the meanwhile, my boys got a really cool new room with neat paint colors and a new play area. They also had Christmas and are going back to school. We’re so focused on the baby coming though (and my job search) that it’s hard to remember there’s something going on right now I should pay attention to. I really need to spend time with them now… while we’re all together at home because they’re out of school, I’m at home and there’s no baby yet to distract us.
We tend to think that life is about getting somewhere and we want to get there as quickly as possible. I know that I drive that way… go the speed limit, man! I get frustrated by people tooling along like there’s no hurry in the world. I understand that maybe they have a reason for going slow, but still, get it moving! In addition to contemplating “hurry up and wait” though there is another phrase I should consider, “stop and smell the flowers.”
Yes, it’s nice to get there… to accomplish something, to complete your trip, get the job, get the kids off to school – or off to college and out of the house! Life, though, is really about the journey. It’s about the times in between. It’s about who we travel with and what we do on our long slog to the finish line. You develop relationships, you don’t complete or accomplish them, and you get to keep them for your entire life. I’m trying not to spend so much time getting to the finish line that I fail to enjoy the trip. I will accomplish lots of goals in my lifetime but I am allotted only so much time and if I don’t stop to smell the flowers sometimes, I will definitely regret it later. Life is one trip you don’t get to take a second time, unfortunately.
I think you have to stop or just slow down every once in a while and since I’m in the “wait” part of “hurry up and wait,” maybe now is a good time for me to look around and enjoy my extra time with family and friends and just be ON the journey for a while.
I still fail to find any redeeming value whatsoever in my time holding for technical support or in Walmart though!