Social media savvy. Blogging proficiency. Security solutions. Cloud integration. Backup data. Team productivity. Chances are you’ve heard about these hot topics and how they make or break your business in 2017. There’s a new wave of technologies that make these processes fairly simple, but the majority of business owners are mired in the day to day tasks of their business. They don’t have the time to endlessly research and pursue solutions that may or may not work.

Obviously, as managed service providers, the team here at Fantastic IT aims to handle some of these important decisions for you. Our goal is to walk you through every step, so that you not only understand what’s going on, but also gain a custom solution that simplifies and streamlines tech for your business. We wanted to share the basics with you here, whether or not you decide to partner with us. At the end of the day, we’d like to empower small business owners to critically examine and understand how modern technology interacts with their business.

Does your current tech solution support what you do best as a business?

Day by day, month by month, year by year – your business is slowly changing and growing. Competencies shift, operations change, and best practices morph over time – so should your technology infrastructure. It is imperative to stay current with the times, adapting to new industry practices while replacing outdated hardware and relegating outdated processes.

Despite this, your technology has to support what you are doing. Scalability is a fancy buzzword that you often hear thrown around, but the majority of small business owners don’t understand how it applies. Your tech infrastructure should support your everyday tasks, but also have the ability to grow with you when you need more power and efficiency.

What does the average workday look like in terms of communication and collaboration with your current solutions?

You know your business like the back of your hand – you know the ins, the outs, the tricks, the shortcomings, the strengths. You know where your tech solutions create issues, and where they simplify processes and make life easier. As a business owner, you have to take stock of the average workday, prioritizing operational flaws in your systems while finding ways to improve and reinforce the things you do well.

Taking a critical step back from the day-to-day operations will help you evaluate the tools and channels you have in place that support your team. Do you provide proper communication channels for external stakeholders? Does your internal team communicate in a way that fosters collaboration and connectivity? If your tech solutions aren’t opening these lines of communication, consider a change immediately.

Does the cloud work for you?

For a lot of small business owners, the “cloud” is a lofty concept that requires detailed explanations and research. Business owners are told the cloud can do X, Y, and Z, but they don’t know the first thing about implementing a solution that somehow works for them.

This is where a partner like Fantastic IT steps in, carefully explaining things like the cost structure behind virtualizing tasks, how the cloud allows for improved collaboration, and why the cloud streamlines key IT resources that provide more flexibility within your organization. Ironically, a lot of business owners will say they want a cloud, but after consulting and MSP, find out that they need a hybrid solution that is more compatible with their operation. A cloud solution only works well if you spend the time researching and implementing exactly what you want it to do for your business – no two “clouds” are the same.

What happens to your business if “key piece X” goes offline?

Backup and Business Continuity are hot topics in 2017 – surely you have some important data you want stored, and in the event of a problem, you definitely want your operations to continue smoothly without a hitch. The problem is many small business owners settle with just an “ok” backup solution that doesn’t ensure continuity – their backups are local, slow, and take time to restore on a problematic machine. If disaster strikes and wipes out your local hardware, you’re done for.

This is where the experts at Fantastic IT have unique on and off-site backups, virtualization, and business continuity solutions that duplicate your data throughout the day and divert key processes and operations to another virtualized machine in the event of a catastrophe. If one piece of your operation goes down, your whole business doesn’t cave in. That’s the power of a backup system that fosters business continuity – what is your backup solution doing for you?

What is your story and how do you share it with the world?

What makes your business individual? Why do you stand out from the competition? Sure this is basic Marketing 101, but every business has a story; your story is worth telling. Get out there and craft your narrative – the opportunities are endless. Harness the power of social media to craft and share the very substance of why your small business is unique.

Start developing content to share on various platforms: blogs for your website, infographics for Facebook, links to content on Twitter, photos for Instagram. Showcase your brand and your name – there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. The goal is to post honest, open content that allows your brand’s personality to shine through.

In conclusion, all the modern technology in the world can be empowering – but it is ultimately useless if it doesn’t properly integrate with and support your business and operational style. The above questions serve as a preliminary audit that should get you in the mindset of examining your in-house tech operations and processes.