How and Why to Start an IT Budget for Your Small Business
We posted recently about the importance of embracing and upgrading IT in your small business, but how do you find the cash to actually implement those needed upgrades? Small businesses have tight profit margins. If you're entering periods of new growth, it can be even harder to forecast your future profits and use them as a guideline for internal spending and improvements. But a budget helps regulate IT expenses and helps set your small business goals for the year.
What does a budget have to do with streamlining company goals?
Your budget, and usually the IT budget specifically, is one of the best tools for planning out your year. If you have a set lump sum for projected spending throughout the year, a budget helps allocate those funds by month and project. You'll know which aspects of your projects need to be trimmed, which might not fit in the budget this year, and which can be prioritized.
If your small business goals for this year include expansion, then your budget might be full of forecasted goals for hiring new employees, purchasing new IT devices, and adding more program user licenses to your company's technology suite. If you want to focus more on stabilizing last year's expansion, your budget might include new analysis software, a business consultant, or an upgraded data storage solution like a network attached storage (NAS) device so you can consolidate your records.
How can you start budgeting?
If your small business hasn't had an IT budget before, it can be hard to know what numbers and elements to consider. Gather your records for the past three years or since your company's start, and find these key numbers:
What is your average annual IT spending?
While averages can't give you a clear idea of future expenses, it provides a rough estimate. However, if you have been delaying new equipment purchases, software updates, or any servicing, you should anticipate a large increase in spending depending on your goals for the upcoming period.
What emergency variable costs can you change into fixed costs?
Fixed costs are almost typically preferable to variable costs for small businesses. Fixed costs like a monthly lease, subscriptions, and regular salary payments are predictable which makes budgeting easier. Unpredictable costs like emergency repairs, a replacement computer, and a network outage can break even a cautious budget. We recommend exploring managed IT programs with fixed costs or estimate monthly costs to reduce unexpected fees. This is even more important if you operate based on monthly cash flow and your business doesn't have significant cash reserves.
Igniting Business offers a Tech Up-To-Date program which includes an initial monthly contracted cost intended to help keep your computers running smooth, efficient, and up to date. We cater all of our IT services specifically to small businesses with 25 employees or less. If your small business needs assistance with IT, contact us today for more information!