TechsForBiz | Technologies for Business | Business IT Challenges and Solutions

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Those of us that have worked for large companies enjoy one big advantage when it comes to getting your job done: a dedicated IT organization that is available to rapidly fix any problems that prevent us from using technology. Be it phones, computers, or the applications that we need, their main objective is to keep the business humming.

This level of support, of course, comes at a cost. IT people and tools aren’t cheap, as any small business owner can attest. The notion of having a dedicated IT person is out of reach for virtually all small businesses until they get to a certain size (generally North of about 50 people–less for some company types, like technology companies).

The question that many small business owners are faced with is: “how do I keep my business technologies running without hiring someone full-time?” The answer is generally to find someone that can help out on a part-time, contract basis. It’s harder than you might think to find someone like that. The world is full of cousins and brothers-in-law who “know a little sumpin about computers” and who, while they mean well, can often make things worse.

Techs4Biz was founded on the premise that small businesses should be able to call on true professionals who can get the job done. We’re a small business too, so we’re in the same boat. I have worked for and owned small businesses most of my career, starting with a TV repair business when I was in middle school, followed by a programming business in my late teens, and a software company in my early thirties. I founded a marketing consulting company in 2006 called EhrTech, and I have now founded Techs4Biz to provide those badly needed IT services to small businesses.

So how am I proposing to do that? First off, I plan to run and grow this business organically. That means that I refuse to go into debt. Much of the company profit will be funneled back into growing the company, and all expenditures will have a definitive return.

To paraphrase Chef Duff “Ace of Cakes” Goldman, I plan to hire the best people in the business that I know–my friends–many of whom I have worked with for decades. Eddie Holub is one of them. He is highly talented, very bright, and learns fast. Most of his IT knowledge was obtained from the school of hard knocks–he worked his way up from a sales guy to running the IT for the company he worked for, and he is a master at figuring things out. In my experience, the best IT guys are just like Eddie. While they may or may not have degrees, they have a certain aptitude and drive that makes them who they are.

We’re starting small. We just launched our first packaged service, which is a $149 “PC Rebuild” package that is guaranteed to take a machine that has been crippled with Windows Arthritis (I invented that term!) and return it to “showroom fresh” condition by rebuilding it from scratch. We save and restore all of the user’s data and applications during the process, assuming that the machine hasn’t been decimated by viruses and other malware to the point where data has been lost. We reinstall all user applications, plus anti-malware like anti-virus and anti-spyware. As an added bonus, we also create a system restore disc that allows the customer to put the disc in the computer, reboot, and restore it back to the same pristine state that it was in when we return it to them, complete with all of their data and apps. Take your PC to Geek Squad and ask them for the same service, and they’ll charge you $300–and they don’t create a restore disc.

So, if you know someone that could use our PC Rebuild service, or any of our other small business IT services, please send them our way. I’d really appreciate it, and I promise that Techs4Biz will deliver what we promise, on time and on budget. These days, that’s pretty much the golden rule of business, and I plan to stick to it. Thanks for reading!

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I have worked for small businesses for most of my career, which is slowly creeping up on 30 years. Yikes. I’d better look out – I’m rapidly turning into an old tech guy!

Over the years, I have discovered that many small businesses suffer from the same IT issues. When a business first gets off the ground, technology is usually deployed only on a must-have basis. In other words, the focus is on building the business, aka surviving, and not on purchasing and deploying the right blend of technologies for the business. As the business grows, this practice tends to continue, and as with many bad habits, things don’t tend to change.

At some point, the business (hopefully!) gets large enough that it is highly dependent on technology. This seems to generally occur when the business hits about a half-dozen key (aka revenue generating) employees. The business typically has a real office (or least an appearance of one), and key technical needs include the ability to securely store (and share) documents and data, a website, secure remote access for employees, collaboration software (like email, instant messaging, shared calendar, and maybe even a shared Web portal), plus an infrastructure to support all of this.

The problem that tends to occur is that these types of businesses still aren’t big enough to afford a full-time “IT guy” to make educated decisions as to what type of technologies to purchase, how to put it all together so that it all works, and to keep everything running. Many businesses make the mistake of hiring someone to do the first two items (which many times involves purchasing a dedicated Microsoft Small Business Server, which provides many of the technologies mentioned above), plus a virtual private network (or VPN), which provides secure remote access, etc, etc. While this works well to begin with, as soon as the “IT guy” is no longer in the picture, things begin to break.

This is a serious problem. PCs and servers can become infected with malware (like viruses) or begin performing poorly. Network connections can break. Hardware can crash. If a solid backup plan is not in place, valuable business documents can be irretrievably lost. And the business principals often try to take all of this on themselves instead of running and growing their business.

Techs4Biz has become involved in a number of these scenarios over the past few months. The process generally involves scoping out what technologies the business has, meeting with the principals to determine what their objectives are, and then mapping out a plan to get them where they need to go. In some cases, we simply stabilize the environment and then provide on-going support. In other cases, we have aided companies remove most of their on-site technologies in favor of virtual services like Google Mail (Gmail) and Google Docs.

If you are in this situation, or know someone who is, please let them know what we’re available to help: . Thanks for reading!


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