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IT Expenditure: What Should a Realistic IT Budget Look Like in 2020?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article | IT Budget | Entrepreneurship | IT Expenditure: What Should a Realistic IT Budget Look Like in 2020?Every business needs to have an IT department of some sort, whether on-site or remotely, in order to keep their company afloat. So much relies on computers that if they suddenly stop working, your business stops moving.

That being the case, it’s not uncommon to see much of a business’s finances go directly into making sure their IT services continue to run smoothly. But how much do you really need to be spending on an IT budget – and how much are you already spending?

There are limits to how much you should be putting out for the services you receive. This article goes in-depth with how your 2020 budget should look like for your IT software and troubleshooting needs, so you won’t spend any more than necessary. Read on to find out more!

Your IT Budget Will Increase Most at the Beginning of the Year

New year, new you – and new business. Your company is bound to shape up and adopt the “out with the old, in with the new” rhetoric. That most likely also means you’ll be getting rid of old hardware and software and investing in new tech.

Of course, this is bound to bring up the IT bill initially, as the purchasing and the installation of new equipment will be added to the tab. In most cases, however, it will pay for itself in the long run, so the initial purchase shouldn’t be seen as something scary.

Streamlined Operations Will Save You Money

As technology gets better, it becomes easier to use the software to our advantage. These streamline operations will allow you to not only better serve your customers, but will save you money as well.

There will be minimal confusion on what you need to conduct B2B and B2C interactions as well as in-house operations, and the lack of complexity will free up the IT department from working on the small stuff and allow them to focus on what really matters.

Internet Is Faster at Relatively the Same Price

Businesses need internet, and it’s good to know that each year companies are able to make their services faster. It’s even better to know that, due to competition, the internet is still being sold at the same price – or in some cases, even less.

This is good news for you as that means you get better services without the higher price, allowing you to place the money you’ve saved onto other important aspects of your business.

To make sure you stay up to date on how much you’re spending on IT needs, you’ll want to use an organizational tool such as a NetSuite price cheatsheet to make sure you know where every penny goes!

Stay Driven. Be Successful

You know what you should be spending on your IT budget for your computer needs, so now you’ll be able to watch your money flow and still get things done. But that’s only the beginning of what you need to know to help your business succeed.

At StrategyDriven, we help focused and goal-oriented business owners like yourself take on the competition and succeed in their field. We offer help from all angles, including formatting and executing business strategies, management and organizational programs, and more.

Ready to get started? Click on any of the tabs on our site to learn more about what we have to offer you. We’re sure that we can help your company to win!

Ways To make Your Business More Efficient

A business needs to work and keep working for both the owners and the consumers. Inefficiency can be a real problem for businesses, which can end up costing your business a lot of revenue. There are some tricks you can use to make your business more efficient and improve your earning power and productivity.

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Ways To make Your Business More Efficient | Entrepreneurship | Business Efficiency

What Isn’t Working?

Before you make any changes, you need to identify the areas of your process that are currently inefficient. When you know where the problem areas are, you can start working out what is causing it. From here, you can create a solution. For example, if your IT team is overworked and stressed, you’ll get more IT downtime, slowing down work. You can fix this by using IT services to tackle business inefficiency caused by technology. Inefficiency can occur in lots of different places. It might be redundant processes, important information that is hard to find and procedures that have been allowed to get out of date. Overcomplicated procedures are also a common problem.

Democratize The Market

Find a way to make the market you work in more democratic, which makes processes faster for staff and consumers, and frees up your team to deal with other parts of their job. Making the process of working with you much smoother and simpler, you can serve more customers and retain them afterward. The easier it is for customers and staff to access technology and information, the smoother and faster your business can operate.

Explore Digital Integration

Digital integration that is inefficient can be a big problem, causing you to be less competitive in your industry. Instead, use digital integration that can streamline your work, cutting down on the time that is wasted. Digital solutions that are properly integrated can improve efficiency in lots of ways. Technology can be used to automate tasks that are time-consuming, which then allows your employees to focus on tasks that need attention from a human being. Communication is made faster and easier. Reports can be generated and shared with key stakeholders much more quickly. Problems can be found and handled sooner, and employees can communicate with each other much more easily. Proper, thorough digital integration is a must-do solution to inefficiency in a business.

Build An End-To-End Solution

You need to think about the entire system, and consider how your business and product fits into the larger picture. Full integration can help you find more ways to improve your efficiency. If all the parts of your machine work together, things will operate in a more efficient way, allowing you to work on the things that matter.

Build Communities And Resources

A great way to be more efficient in your business is to create communities. The people you meet will help you to open up more opportunities in a natural way. Foster community development with tings like public forums for discussion, networking options and sharing resources. This can generate new ideas, invaluable feedback, and new concepts for you and the other businesses involved.

Finding Balance as a Small Business Owner

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |work-life balance|Finding Balance as a Small Business OwnerIn the early days, you probably don’t mind working all of the available hours to get your business up and running. But as you go on, you might be looking for more of a balance in what you do and when. Smaller businesses are very reliant on their owners to get things going, but over time you will find there are many options and tools to help you create a better work-life balance.

Goals

If you head to your office or open your laptop day after day without setting yourself some goals, you can spend hours ‘pottering about’ on a range of activities but not really moving forward. Take some time to set goals on everything that you need to do each day. This will mean you are less likely to start to procrastinate or do other tasks. Goals help us stay on track.

The critical thing to making it work is that you set a range of goals that are attainable over your day, week, month, and long term too.

Set goals in both your working life and personal life too. Like a date night once a week, or going to the woods or for breakfast with the children.

Tools

If you have social media campaigns running, are managing projects, and have an It network to manage, then you should consider the tools that can make this easier for you. For social media, there is a range of online tools that will help you prepare and automate your social media efforts.

Project management software like Monday.com or Asana are really popular and make a big difference in staying on track and closing your laptop at a specific time of day. And the right IT security solution will mean you don’t have to have that in the forefront of your mind – it’s all handled for you.

Lifestyle

Make your lifestyle the priority and shape your work around it. Many people let their life come second to work. It’s the default mode for millions. However, you can choose to put your lifestyle first. If you want to do yoga mid-morning and take a nap in the afternoon – then great, fit your work around your life.

Turn Off

When you close the door on your office for the day, make sure that you aren’t having a range of notifications coming through to your phone instead. This will keep you plugged into work. Meaning you never truly get a break at all. It would be best if you also considered building some time into each day that you don’t pick up your phone at all.

At least an hour can combat some of the negative effects that too much screen time can cause.

After all, part of the reason that you wanted to own and run your business was so that you had more time in your life for the things you love and the people you want to spend time with. So look for places to automate, learn to switch off, and set attainable goals.

The Top Pros and Cons of Purchasing Business Insurance

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Business Insurance|The Top Pros and Cons of Purchasing Business InsuranceWhether you have a startup or a long-established business, you’ll want to protect it. There are so many risks associated with running a business and you want to know that it’s safeguarded in case of a lawsuit, a settlement or any other damage that it faces. And this is where business insurance comes in.

But although business insurance undeniably has its benefits, there are a few things to consider about it before taking the leap and investing in the cover. If you currently don’t have business insurance and are wondering whether it’s the right move for you, here are the top pros and cons associated with it:

Let’s start with the pros:

1.There is Variety of Types To Choose From

One plus point of business insurance is that there is a variety of different types to choose from. From management liability insurance cover to property liability cover, workers compensation, business interruption insurance, etc.

This gives you the flexibility to choose the cover that suits you. Often, businesses will opt for several different types of insurance or a package which offers them three or four types in one.

2. It Will Help You To Save Money

A huge benefit that comes with investing in business insurance is the fact that it can save you money in the long term. Protecting you from a range of unforeseen circumstances, you can have peace of mind.

Whether it’s covering the cost of a claim made by an employee, the cost of any property damage, or another issue, you won’t have to foot an expensive bill at the end of the process (unlike if you didn’t opt for the insurance).

Offering you an efficient and quick solution, you won’t have to worry about the financial implications of downtime. Many businesses around the world recognize this benefit and how much they will be able to save from it.

3. It’s More Appealing to Investors

When you have business insurance, your business looks a lot more appealing to potential lenders and investors – a benefit that startups will love. Providing a certain financial guarantee, investors will know that the business assets are protected in case of an incident. They will, therefore, be more likely to do business with you.

Now, onto the cons:

1. It Can Be Expensive

One downside to business insurance is that it can be expensive. As a business owner, you’re continuously looking for ways to budget out your costs every month – and the costs associated with business insurance might be too much for a smaller business.

Of course, there are ways that you can bring this price down; you could either focus on particular parts of your business that need protecting, review and change your policies ever so often, etc. However, you’ll want to make sure that the key parts of your business are covered – otherwise, the overall expenses will increase.

2. The Pay-out Can Be Slow or Non-Existent

With business insurance, at times, certain claims won’t be covered under your policy. If this occurs, then you’ll not be able to reap the benefits that you expected. When the claim is particularly complex, however, the provider might agree to pay-out to you, but it will take a while to process.

This is because the company needs to fully assess the claim and determine the exact cover they will provide you. In this time your business could suffer huge financial loss and other implications.

Seven steps for a carbon neutral coworking space

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Carbon Neutral|Seven steps for a carbon neutral coworking spaceIt is the case that many individuals want to do more to ensure that their workplace is as green as possible. After all, we all recycle and make changes to our homes in response to climate change and the desire to live in a more sustainable way – so it is only natural that we would want to do the same thing at work.

In a company workplace, this can be easy – ideas can be taken to managers and schemes can be easily implemented. But what happens if your working day takes place in a coworking space. Coworking has become a very popular way to enjoy the advantages of an office environment for those people who work remotely or freelance. But trying to introduce green schemes in such as an environment is not always easy.

But it is important to remember it is achievable – huge Australian coworking space provider The Commons, which has over 11,000m2 of space, went entirely carbon neutral in 2019. Here we take a look at seven steps you can take towards a carbon neutral coworking space.

1. Go paperless

One of the most important steps in going carbon neutral is in moving to a paperless office. This can be done far more easily than you might imagine. The first step is to get rid of printers, and instead to encourage everyone in the coworking space to avoiding printing out documents needlessly – it is estimated that 20% of pages printed are never retrieved from the printer.

Additionally, you should look into ways to ensure that you never need to use paper. Many businesses are happy to send over documents in a purely digital form, so there is generally no need to have them in paper too.

2. Switch off computers not in use

There is a major problem in coworking spaces looking to achieve carbon neutrality – people leaving their computers on. Many people in a coworking space will get into the habit of logging out from a machine but won’t shut it down. This can mean it can go draining energy for many hours unnecessarily.

Make sure that people get into the habit of fully shutting down their machine.

3. Don’t charge your phone all day

Another problem comes in the common sight of phones being charged all day. Staff might get into the coworking space in the morning, see that their phone needs charging, plug it in, and then leave it there all day without thinking about it. Not only is this bad for your phone, it also is an unnecessary drain on electrical power.

4. Promote renewal energy

There are many ways that a coworking space can utilise renewable energy. If you can look into having solar panels installed on the roof of the space, this can be extremely effective. According to Geo Green Power, specialists in renewable technologies “There are significant benefits to be had from investing in solar energy, for businesses both large and small. With rising energy costs, putting your roof space to good use can be a sensible decision.

Many commercial organisations have already realised the huge potential income stream available from solar energy.”

However, many don’t realise that there are many different forms of renewable energy that a building can invest in. This ranges from solar heating to green source heat pumps.

5. Put a recycling scheme in place

Many individuals who wouldn’t dream of doing so at home, will simply throw their rubbish away when at work – regardless whether any of it could potentially be recycled. This can be out of frustration that there is no proper recycling scheme in place at the coworking space.

This can be easily set up. All you need is a recycling bin – get in contact with your local council if you don’t have access to one.

6. Switch to energy efficient lightbulbs

It is the same changes that can add up to a big difference. Ensure that every time a lightbulb goes, it gets replaced with an energy efficient one. There is double the good news here, as energy efficient lightbulbs tend to last longer than traditional bulbs.

7. Be smart with heating and cooling

Sometimes it is important to be mindful of your own actions. If you get cold in your coworking space, don’t immediately go and demand that the heating is turned up. Instead, consider putting on another layer in order to warm up – and vice versa if you need to cool down. Once again, this is a small issue that makes a huge difference throughout the course of the year.