Being an entrepreneur or small business owner should be exciting and energizing, and it usually is…at the start. Unfortunately, many small business owners discover that once a business takes off, they often become a victim of its own success. What was once personally rewarding can eventually overwhelm and take the pleasure out of work.
A major issue weighing heavily on an owner’s mind is keeping ahead of cyber risks and continual advancements in technology. These issues can force many small business owners to spend all their time putting out fires instead of using technology to improve their businesses. It seems that days go faster and faster and, at the end of the day, you’re exhausted knowing the next day will just bring more challenges. For many owners and managers, work becomes a fire-fighting operation, racing to face problems until they are drained and demoralized.
Research indicates the more fire-fighting you do, the less likely you will have time to reflect on why there are so many fires to put out in the first place. While these kinds of challenges are always going to happen, there is a solution that gives small business owners time to step back, take a breath and think strategically about how to use technology to grow and move forward, rather than just survive.
Hiring a virtual CIO (vCIO) can help you plan strategically and use technology to grow your business. A vCIO will monitor and manage that technology so that fires are contained or put out before they get out of control.
At the Gordon Flesch Company, we take a four-pronged approach to provide comprehensive technology solutions:
- Planning — Evaluating needs and focusing on people, not products
- Protection — Ensuring systems are safe from hackers and internal threats
- Productivity — Improving efficiencies and systems to streamline workflows
- Performance — Providing uptime assurance and optimal performance
Advantage 1: Planning
One trap that often comes along once a business starts to grow is that small business owners don’t pay enough attention to managing growth. With a burst of growth in customers and orders, processes break down and mistakes begin to cause client satisfaction issues. It’s easy for companies to get locked into a process-oriented mindset, view any new technology as high risk and perceive change as a threat to the IT investments and processes they’ve already painstakingly implemented.
Too often, businesses just add new steps and processes to deal with new demands. We believe that, with the help of a vCIO, it is possible to keep business simple and make changes that will help any organization streamline processes and make everyone more efficient. It’s better not to make things more complicated than they already are, so our experienced technology experts will sit down with a business owner and map out ways to manage growth and eliminate unnecessarily complicated steps.
Advantage 2: Productivity
Uncontrolled growth can lead to quality issues, wasted materials, rework, missed deadlines, tired employees and frustrated customers. Productivity suffers, and the uncontrolled growth isn’t as rewarding as you dreamed and is taking the enjoyment out of work. It’s easy to over develop a digital platform that becomes bloated with non-essential features and functions that don’t contribute to that business goal.
A vCIO will help you step back and create what we call a Strategic Business Review so you can begin to focus on long-term goals and break those processes and practices that have become impediments to productivity, rather than helpful. Players in your company’s ecosystem — customers, suppliers, third parties — can be brought closer together, build connections on the fly and preserve their own unique ways of operating, rather than having to fit into a rigid infrastructure.
Advantage 3: Performance
A vCIO will implement full-time monitoring and assessment of technology so organizations can focus on opportunities to scale rapidly. The right approach to technology can help make a business more efficient and may even help develop new opportunities for controlled growth.
For example, Amazon’s cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services, was built off spare capacity in Amazon’s core IT infrastructure and is completely different from Amazon’s core e-commerce business. But Amazon found inefficient and wasted resources in its systems and built a billion-dollar business. Small businesses can apply the same principles.
Advantage 4: Protection
The worst threat many businesses face today is the possibility of a cyber-attack. The traditional approach to managing IT — adding technology experts to the payroll — simply isn’t practical for most small business owners. But with our IT infrastructure and support teams in place to manage these risks, you can focus on predictability, scalability and efficiency of your systems and grow your business. A vCIO will assess your risks, help upgrade your hardware and software to defend against evolving threats and set up the systems to manage these risks automatically.
It’s no doubt that eliminating the worries and frustrations associated with your company’s technology can help renew the joy of business ownership and help it grow. Get back to focusing on why you started your business in the first place and allow a vCIO to handle your technology challenges. Reach out to the Gordon Flesch Company for an honest discussion and evaluation of your technology landscape. Meanwhile, check out the infographic below to further explain the benefits of a vCIO.