Did you know that a small business is more likely to be the victim of a cyberattack than a larger corporation? If you own a small business, you need to make sure that you’re protected from these kinds of attacks.
The best way to do that? By preparing a budget for all of your IT needs, including improved cybersecurity measures.
But knowing how to create a tech budget can be tricky, especially if you’ve never done it before. And because it’s so important, you can’t afford to make any mistakes along the way.
The good news is, we can guide you through the entire process!
In this article, we’ll give you all of the pointers that you need to build an effective and efficient tech budget from the ground up. We’ll help you get started, tell you what to budget for, and even put you on track to avoid any major bumps in the road along the way.
That way you can make sure your business is up to date tech-wise, allowing you to be more competitive and successful.
Have a Budget in Place at All Times
It goes without saying, but the biggest budget tip that we can give you has to do with actually having a budget in place. Simply put, trying to go without a tech budget is never a good idea, as it doesn’t allow you to prepare for the future.
Problems will arise. Your old hardware and software will need to be replaced. Trying to wing it through these changes will lead to you making mistakes, and possibly overspending, which isn’t what you want.
So, if you don’t have one already, go ahead and set aside the time needed to plan a tech budget. That way you can protect yourself and your business moving forward.
Take Your Time Preparing a Budget
We get it. You don’t want to sit around for more than a few hours looking at numbers and trying to figure out how much you can spend on tech during a calendar year.
With that being said, trying to rush through a budget is never a good idea, as it increases the chances of you making a crucial mistake.
How much time you need to plan a budget depends on the size of the tech budget you’re preparing. So, the best piece of advice that we can give you is to take your time and don’t rush through the process so you can hurry up and get to the finish line.
Pro tip: divide your tech budget prep into multiple days. Only work on it for a few hours each day, so you don’t get burnt out by the entire process.
Be Honest and Realistic
Whenever you’re dealing with money, especially spending money, it can be tempting to lie to yourself about how much you actually need. When coming up with a budget, this is the worst thing that you can do, as you set yourself up for failure.
In fact, we recommend that you overestimate your budget to ensure that you have enough funds to handle all of your tech needs. Be honest and realistic, and round up, so you have more than enough breathing room in your budget.
Also, don’t lie to yourself about your tech needs. If your gear is starting to age, or if your team needs more IT training, don’t pretend as if those areas of need don’t need to be addressed. Do everything you can to plan ahead so you can be ready when the time comes to spend some money on IT needs.
Get Your Entire Team Involved
Trying to prepare an entire IT budget yourself is never a good idea. Not only are you more likely to stress yourself out working alone, but you increase your chances of forgetting something crucial in the budget itself.
Our advice? Get your entire team involved in the process so you can take some of the weight off your shoulders.
You never know, someone on your staff may have a great idea for something that needs to be included in the budget. And someone else may have a strategy you can use to cut costs and save money on IT needs.
Get everyone involved and make it an open discussion, as it will make the entire process go a lot smoother.
Leave Some Wiggle Room
We touched on this earlier, but it’s important to leave plenty of wiggle room in your IT budget for any unexpected expenses. Planning for something to come up and throw your entire business for a loop is the first step in overcoming whatever obstacle is in your path.
By rounding up on all expenses, you’re naturally creating some wiggle room in your budget to help you pay for those unexpected issues. But setting aside a small fund for emergencies is never a bad idea, especially if you run a tech-heavy business that can’t operate when these issues arise.
Consider Your Goals
No matter what kind of company you operate, odds are you have more than a few goals that you’re trying to reach each calendar year. When you’re prepping a tech budget, it’s important to consider those goals, and what you need to reach them, so you can make sure your business is equipped to do so.
In fact, it’s not a bad idea to have your goals written down on a piece of paper so you can look at them during the budget prep process. Having that constant reminder of what you’re trying to achieve is also a great way to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.
On top of that, it will give you a chance to reinforce these goals, and what it takes to get there, with your team. Doing all of this over breakfast can also help improve team morale in the workplace, which is an added bonus.
Focus on Improving IT Security
Sitting down to figure out which areas of your IT setup need to be improved? Start by looking at your IT security measures first to ensure that they’re up to par.
Odds are, if you’re like most small businesses, your IT security infrastructure needs to be updated. Doing this takes money, of course, which is why it’s so important to consider IT security when making your budget for the year.
At this point in the process, getting an IT specialist involved is often a good idea. They’ll help you decide what you need to do to better protect your business, which of course is the overall goal here.
Invest in IT Training for Your Staff
A lot of things can go into keeping your employees happy in the workplace. And while it’s not the only thing on the list, making sure that they have the training they need to be successful is near the top of it.
Our advice? Anytime you make changes to your office’s tech setup, you need to set aside time for your employees to be trained on how to use the new tech.
Doing this will reduce the learning curve, keep employees happy, and ensure that everyone remains productive. On top of that, it will give you another excuse to get face to face with your team members and reiterate your goals, which is always a positive.
Go Big on Cloud Services
If you know anything about the IT world, especially when it comes to businesses, it’s that the cloud is all the rage right now. Because of this, it’s more than a good idea to invest heavily in the cloud on your next IT budget.
With the cloud, you’ll be able to improve your IT infrastructure and make it easier for your employees to get work done in the office. You also make your business safer and more secure, which again, is always important.
On top of that, you can even make it easier for your employees to work remotely, as the cloud can be accessed anywhere. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that preparing for anything and everything, including working from home, is a must for all business owners.
Need More Help With Your Tech Budget?
As you can see, a lot goes into preparing a budget for all of your tech needs. That said, if you keep these ideas in mind, and you take your time, you should be able to create an effective budget for your business rather easily.
Remember, overestimate everything, plan for emergencies, and get your team involved. And if you think you need it, the help of an IT expert is very much worth considering.
Looking for more tips and tricks you can use to help your business reach goals? Check back with our blog often for tons of useful ideas and information.