2017 is shaping up to be a big year for technology. Things are moving so fast, it’s impossible for most small businesses to keep up. That’s where you come in. As an IT company, the business community relies on you to keep them operating and make sure they’re using the right tech tools for the job.
This year is a year for opportunities and growth, providing you are prepared for it and you’re embracing every opportunity. Now is the time to be thinking about the year ahead and setting goals and resolutions for your company. What are your New Years Resolutions for your IT company?
1. I resolve to … embrace the cloud
More and more businesses are looking for cloud-based solutions that allow them to run their company from anywhere in the world, send out teams on the road armed with all the information they need, and give them the ability to quickly access whatever information they require.
From accounting (Xero) to project management (WorkflowMax), to document storage (Dropbox) and CRM software (Salesforce), cloud apps are taking over the business landscape. Isn’t it time you embraced the new world cloud order?
2. I resolve to … improve my SEO
As an IT company, you should be pretty up with the play when it comes to getting found online. However, the world of SEO is always changing, and there are always improvements you can make to ensure your website is in front of as many eyes as possible. Sometimes, a simple tweak can net you ten new clients a month.
- Ensure appropriate title tags and meta descriptions are written for all your pages.
- Reword your navigation bar to fit with SEO best practices.
- Look at optimising outside of Google - many companies are now focusing on optimising their sites for Amazon or Facebook as well.
3. I resolve to … Eat That Frog!
By that, I refer to Brian Tracy’s bestselling productivity book, Eat That Frog. Tracy’s concept is simple - that the big, important task that you keep putting off is like a big, ugly, bulgey-eyed frog that you (for reasons unknown) have to eat. The more you think about eating that frog, the more impossible it seems. But if you just swallow it down, you feel invincible. You’re ready for anything.
If you want to get more done in 2017, read Tracy’s book, and utilize some of his productivity tips in your everyday life:
- Eat your frog first thing in the morning. Get your biggest, most important task out of the way first thing.
- If you have two frogs to eat, swallow the largest, most ugliest one first.
- Plan every day in advance. “Set Your Table” for eating your frog by setting goals.
- Don’t force down that frog in one bite. You’ll choke and die. Slice and dice into bite-sized pieces.
4. I resolve to … revisit my business plan
Do you remember that business plan you wrote when you first started your company, all those years ago? You spent hours working with an advisor defining your market, creating goals, honing your elevator pitch, devising a marketing plan and thinking about how you want to shape your company over the next five years.
Have you even looked at that business plan since?
In business - especially a busy IT company, where technology moves so fast - we get so distracted with the everyday tasks, we forget to strategize for the future. Well, no longer. It is time to dust off that neglected business plan. Take a look at where your company started, and where you are now? Are you on track with those goals? Are those goals and plans even relevant anymore?
You'll need to:
- Assess where you’re succeeding and in what areas you need to work on based on your business goals.
- Rewrite your business plan where it’s no longer relevant.
- Create a schedule to regularly check in and look at your goals and growth based on the plan. Every three to six months is a good idea.
5. I resolve to … improve my industry profile.
You’re just holed up in your office, doing what you need to do to keep the business running smoothly. But you’re starting to wonder where you go from here? What’s left for you in the IT industry now that you’re no longer climbing the job ladder?
Personal development comes through learning, improving and connecting. When you’re in a high level in your industry, the “connecting” aspect becomes even more important.
How long has it been since you attended an industry conference? Do you meet up with other IT professionals for a monthly coffee or beer? Are you participating in discussion forums online?
In 2017, think about how you can connect with the wider community:
- Book your tickets to a conference you’re excited about. Bonus points if it’s in an exotic location.
- Double-bonus points if you also put in an application to be a speaker.
- Attend local industry meetups or networking events. Search meetup.com for events nearby.
- If there are no local industry events, why not organise one yourself?
- Find communities online and get involved. You can find some active groups in a variety of niches on LinkedIn. Or look for discussion boards of moderated Facebook groups.
6. I resolve to … hire the best people
Behind every successful IT company is a tight-knit, dedicated team who love what they do. Don’t argue with me, OK? It’s just a fact.
In order to make a business out of computers, you need to pull together the people who are the most passionate about helping others understand technology.
Is it time for you to bring on some new staff? Don’t settle for the first resume that lands on your desk - here are some tips for hiring the best people for your IT support team.
7. I resolve to … create awareness
How many of your support calls are customers in tears after they’ve been the victims of cyber fraud? How many worried clients do you have to sadly inform that you cannot recover their files after they’ve been corrupted by a virus? How many hours do you spend removing malware? How many customers would avoid major heartache if they had a little more education about the perils of the internet and email?
No one wants to have a client crying on the phone because they’ve just lost all the photographs from their family vacation to a Nigerian scammer. Create awareness about common IT faults and scams and help your customers to be more tech-savvy.
So how do you create awareness?
- Write a monthly email newsletter highlighting different types of scams and other IT tips.
- Create a Facebook page where you share interesting and informative links about IT issues and scams.
- Add some details to your knowledge base. We’ve got some great tips about improving your knowledge base here on the blog.
- Include some free downloadable content on your website.
- Train staff to not only solve problems, but to offer advice to customers to prevent problems occurring again.
- Run a simple “IT for dummies” course where customers can come in and learn about the basics of taking care of their computer and staying secure. This could double as an extra revenue stream.
8. I resolve to … practice what I preach
I have this friend … let’s call him Alex. Alex owns an IT company specialising in Mac, and a significant amount of his work is troubleshooting problems for business owners moving from a paper-based system to online. He would constantly be telling people how important it was to get your old paper files online, because you could back them up in the cloud and you couldn’t lose them if something happened.
Then, one day, arsonists burnt down the building Alex’s office was located in. Alex lost everything in his office, including all of his files. No worries right? He’s got his office backed up online, of course …
Except, it turned out he didn’t. He’d been so busy growing his business he hadn’t had time to convert all his files online. He’d been using a paper filing system with no backups.
Resolve not to be Alex. If you’re telling your clients to do something, you had better be setting the example.
9. I resolve to … embrace automation
Automation makes everybody’s life easier, and it is a great way to streamline your IT business. Get thinking about the aspects of your business model that produce bottlenecks - how can you use automation to clear some of the clutter away?
Here are some tips to improve your IT business with automation.
10. I resolve to … get the balance right
Too often business owners find it difficult to switch off. Are you going home at the end of a long day and shutting yourself in your office to work instead of spending time with your family? Remember why you go to work in the first place - you’re providing a better life for your family (whether that’s your spouse, your kids, or your cat). Don’t forget to switch off and enjoy the life you’ve created for yourself!