It seems like everything’s coming up roses for small business owners in America: they employ more than half of all American workers. More than 500,000 new small businesses are started each month, and while only about half of them are still thriving after five years, they are still injecting a vibrancy and creativity into the American marketplace. Small business owners are 12 times more likely to patent an employee’s idea and are more likely to provide “invisible” perks like remote work privileges and company outings. In an era where many large corporations are seeking to downsize their staff, layoffs at successful small businesses are holding steady, recent reports indicate.
Many employees at small businesses — defined as a business with fewer than 500 employees — report higher levels of job satisfaction than their corporate counterparts. In an office of five instead of 500, for example, employees’ needs are more likely to be heard and subsequently met. A full two-thirds of all small businesses in America are actually comprised of a single person who must meet all deadlines and fulfill all customer needs and demands. Hiring more employees does remain, however, an essential part of expanding the reach of a new business.
Looking for a flexible schedule to accommodate day care? Small businesses want to retain employees they can trust. Need to work at home during the winter? Employees at small businesses are twice as likely to have the option to telecommute. Indeed, businesses of every size are beginning to allow their employees to work from home; there are many flexible options in the event that they need conference space, and saving on rent can’t be a bad thing in this tumultuous economy.
Small businesses are also increasingly outsourcing their IT managed services, studies show. IT services for small businesses may not completely fill a full-time employee’s schedule: business owners are willing to pay for IT services on an as-needed basis. For example, younger Americans may not remember a time when businesses and individuals needed to pay $300 or more to buy office software.
Keeping abreast of new technology for the office practically involved a spending spree at least once a fiscal year. Nowadays, however, software updates can be downloaded directly to a business’s computer for a nominal fee each month. Likewise, IT managed services can be tendered to a business a la carte instead of the owners’ having to employ full-time tech support.
Outsourcing IT managed services for small businesses can help them work on par with larger corporations. Increasingly, professional software is available for low monthly rates: your bakery could be — and should be — using the same accounting software as a Fortune 500 company. IT managed services can help small business owners do more than feel as if they are competitive with larger companies: it can ensure it.
A sample list of IT managed services could include networking office computers, maintenance and repair of computer equipment, “cloud” computing solutions, and preventative anti-virus management. Of course, a business must still establish itself in a competitive marketplace, but regular computer repair and general computer support can make a small office fly a lot higher and reach a lot farther in those tentative first years.
Predictable spending and 24-hour on-call availability can also be appealing to small businesses that want to keep IT expenses manageable. A full-time, onsite computer professional can realistically only cover one shift per day, an offsite, on-call IT service pro could be dispatched at any time of day or night. No small business owners wants to have to pause their customer service for longer than necessary: IT managed services can help business owners determine how to best deploy their computer maintenance and repair budgets.
We have come a long way from those initial days of dial-up modems, but what hasn’t changed is our economy’s ability to shift and respond. Cyber security may not have been around 20 years ago, but America’s 25 million small business owners want to make sure that they make their customers’ information safe and sound.