What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Technology

I feel that I have to write this. I love small business and I am passionate about helping entrepreneurs succeed and grow their business. As a business owner, I understand how much blood, sweat and tears people put into making their business a success. It pains me to see just how close some of these businesses are to a complete technology disaster and the business owners have no idea. I have seen it work a couple of ways. The business owner has a friend that can spell “PC”, no budget for technology, bad advice, internal staff gets burdened with IT Support, or the business owners assume that everything is OK with the technology systems. Whatever the situation is, I see it all the time. The company is on the brink of a disaster and the business owners have no idea. Well, that is why I am going to write this blog series. I want to provide business owners with simple to ask questions, things to look for, items to review and some simple technology advise presented in a non-technical way.

In part 1 of this series, let’s start at the edge of your company’s computer network. In most cases your company is going to have some type of connection to the internet. Most companies will have a DSL line, T1, cable, or some other type of high speed internet access. As a business owner, you need to understand what type of connectivity you have, and make sure it is the correct fit for your business. This will depend greatly on the number of employees that you have and how much your employees are online. If you feel your internet access is slow, then I recommend that you look at adding a cable to your existing internet connection.

Cable is a very inexpensive way, typically around $100-$120, to add high speed internet to your office. For a lot of our clients, we leave the existing T1 connection in place for the reliability, and add a cable modem for speed. A great way to understand internet speed is to think of it as a lead pipe. The larger the pipe the faster your internet speeds will be. A T1 is going to be around 1.5 inch pipe and cable is going to be between a 20 and 50 inch pipe. So you might be asking yourself, if you are paying $400 -$500 for a T1 and cable cost $100-$120, why do I need the T1? The answer will vary, but in most cases your telephone service probably runs over the T1 as well as your Internet connectivity. Plus, the reliability of cable is not as good as a commercial grade T1 circuit.

So, find out what type of connectivity your office has. Review your contracts with your providers. Prices for these services continue to decrease, so if you have a contract that is 2, 3 or 4 years old, chances are you can renew it at a cheaper rate.