Based on the premise that small- and medium-sized businesses oftentimes lack specific criteria to go by when seeking to hire an IT services provider for their everyday Information Technology needs admin
, the following list is a handy “cheat sheet” that addresses 10 main questions businesses should ask a potential IT service providers when seeking and comparing IT services:
For example, if you’re a small business, certain phone systems will work better, and are licensed to work better for, small businesses of approximately 100 employees or less. Some even have constraints down to 50 employees or less or have constraints about how many locations they can service at once. Once the potential IT service provider tells you of the specific products they resell or offer, do your own online research and find out what the world wide web has to say about the differences between major communications companies and the appropriateness of their products for certain business sizes. Some communications product providers have initially aimed their products towards large-scale businesses and may only now be breaking into the realm of providing products that meet the needs of small and medium business. Each product, whether it’s a VoIP phone system or data backup hardware, has clearly stated constraints for number of users and business size before more upgrades or additional licensing are required. You’ll be in the know ahead of time, before hiring an IT service provider, if you “do your homework” on the products they intend to resell to you.
2) Of the services, hardware, and software you’ll be providing, will any of them actually lower our Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in the short-term or the long-term? If so, how?
For example, installation of a new VoIP phone system may certainly produce a high initial cost, but when you consider that once installed, the new internet-protocol phone system will save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in long-distance calling fees and between-site calling fees, that initial cost may be well worth the long-term savings. Moreover, new mobile phone apps and other unified communications methods and media are currently changing the way small and medium business do business by allowing your office phones to be duplicated on your mobile phone as if you’re never out of the office, or by streamlining your overall client communications to come to one place, saving you time and money, especially if your business requires you to be out of the office, in the field, or traveling often.
There are 20 key points every business owner must have in place to be approved by financial institutions when their underwriting team is determining to approve or decline a loan app. Many of these are small, seemingly meaningless ideas. However, lets take a look at it from the eyes of the lenders.
Banks and lending institutions get so many applications from business owners who, quiet frankly, have no business applying for a loan. Their business is not set up to be lent to. The banks are not even viewing these entities as a viable businesses. So the first stage of getting past the computer guidelines is to have these in place.
Additionally, if you were to go to the bank and not have these in place, the loan officer would get a two digit code back from the computer system and all it was say was “Loan application declined.” Your loan officer, without investing some time into the issue, would not know exactly what you needed to do differently to be approved. The loan officers surely do not have the underwriting guidelines for their firm.
The first is simply the business owner does not have all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed in their business. Things like having an 800 number, being listed in the 411 directory, and having a dedicated fax line is a must to a business owner seeking financing. Many business owners I speak with are small businesses, who are just seeking their financing options. It’s impressive to see the amount of businesses that do not even have these first three steps accomplished. Remember, the goal here is to have your business look attractive on paper. In the eyes of a lender, if you do not have an 800 number it is suggested you own a “mom and pop shop” and are not setup for success.