Most businesses are pretty reliant on IT these days; computers manage our customers, handle communications and host our websites. So understandably, when you grow your business you need IT systems that can handle the load.
If you are growing your business, there are a few important IT related systems that you need to consider to ensure that your business remains effective as you scale.
Here are a few of the most important ones:
Your Website – Server Load
When you have a small website, shared hosting is normally sufficient to manage the small amount of traffic that you are receiving. But as you grow, the demands on your hosting will increase.
Some businesses don’t worry about this until it is too late, but what if your website outgrew your hosting and went down? Moving a site to a new server can take time and in the meantime you might face continual downtime which can obviously hurt your business.
The key is to ensure you know what level of traffic your current solution can handle based on your normal user and always monitor actual server load so that you can predict when you will need to scale.
Your Website – Customer Data
If you are making sales online you will also be storing customer data in your website’s database, but do you also have a backup of this data?
It is important to monitor how much of your available data allowance you are using in any databases you may have associated with your website. You should also know how often your host backs up this data.
Above all else though, ensure that you have your own backup and renew it regularly in case your host has a fire or other breakdown.
Internal PCs – Data Sharing
When your business is still small you can often keep abreast of what each client needs and what else is happening quite easily. But as your business grows you will need more members of staff and you won’t be able to know everything at all times.
This can be a problem for businesses that grow too fast without planning, so don’t fall into the same trap.
You should think in advance about how your internal data will be shared and backed up. How will staff communicate changes to one another? Is there any way that you can store records centrally so that appropriate members of staff can find out the relevant data needed to do their job?
Collaboration systems are not something that many small business owners think about, but having such processes in place can be essential if you plan to grow.
This is a point that is vital to any business selling online: how will you monitor your inventory as you grow and how will you handle stock levels across multiple channels?
When e-commerce sites start out, they often have relatively limited stock and things can be tracked manually if needed, but if you plan to branch out with more products or perhaps to sell on sites like eBay and Amazon, you will need a scalable way to track and adjust stock levels across platforms.
The risk of not getting this right is that you can end up with stock not listed on one or more platform, reducing sales; or you might end up overselling and upsetting customers.
About The Author
This post was written by Ricky from Advantage, a London based company who offer IT services for local business. Check out their website to learn more.