Planning for your upcoming IT expenses can seem like a daunting task, but it is just as necessary as any other expense in your business. You need to make sure that you don’t get caught with a significant cost because you didn’t prepare. Here are some tips on how to start your IT budget.
- Start Now!
Not knowing where to start is entirely understandable, but it isn’t an excuse to ignore this one. If you have an IT staff, ask them for their most reasonable wish list. I know sometimes they get over excited and ask for everything, but letting them know that you want to create a plan will help them prioritize what NEEDS replacement within the next year and what can wait until a later year. Also, if you intend on adding staff members to your team, you need to consider new desktops or laptops for those members. Put that on the budget too. If you don’t have an IT person to lean on, ask your IT provider (*cough* Networks Unlimited *cough*) to figure out what items are critical to replace and what can wait a little while.
- Draft it out
It is okay if you don’t come up with something perfect on the first go around. You might have too much on there, to begin with, or forgot something that needs adding in later. That is okay and easy to amend. The wonderful thing about starting your budget early is that you have the time to make those changes before you cement it as your plan for the next year or next five years.
- Think Critically
You need to understand what challenges and goals you might have coming up the next year. Are you worried about your data’s security? If so, you might need to think about beefing up your security systems for your network. Are you expanding your business and might need new software for that part of the firm? Make sure you budget for software needs as well as hardware needs. If you add some tech item, will that decrease the amount of time your staff spends on that task? Thinking critically might help you pay the money for the item to save time and staff resources in other areas.
- Set a Replacement Cycle
Assess your current equipment and plan your budget to start replacing a couple of computers every year. A replacement cycle will keep everything new and updated without the headache of replacing ALL items at once. If your server is aging, see if you want to invest in a new one or if a cloud-based solution would be the better option for you. When you give yourself the time to plan and replace items, you can make the best decision for your business.
- Plan for the Lean Times
Every business goes through times when cash on hand is a little lean. As you know, the benefits of budgeting and setting money aside for those occasions means that you will have the funds in place when those lean times strike. You’ll be able to stick to your plan and keep your business running efficiently and effectively.
As the year starts winding down, now is the perfect time to start jotting down your wants and needs for the next year. Make sure that technology is included on that list! Contact Networks Unlimited if you need some help putting your plan in place, or if you require pricing or purchasing of those items! (970) 243-3311 / firstname.lastname@example.org