We're hearing from our peers located in coastal cities first about early coronavirus-related effects on the IT industry. One IT-related topic is the catastrophic closure of the smaller "IT Guy" and micro IT companies. This mission-critical relationship with an IT provider ending unexpectedly is leaving businesses vulnerable in more ways than one. And as far as we know, this may only be the beginning of the effects we see.
Smaller “IT Guys” and micro IT companies tend to run lean and have little tolerance for an economic downturn, let alone a global pandemic like COVID-19. If you rely on an IT provider like this, there are risks to your business that need to be assessed now during the early stages of this pandemic. Below we are going to break down the proactive steps your business should be taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are 3 tips detailing how your business can proactively get ahead of your micro IT company going out of business due to COVID-19 (coronavirus):
1. Identify if you’re relying on a micro IT company now.
- Is the owner your technical support person?
- Are you texting their cell phones and/or emailing specific people for support?
- Are their invoices sent sporadically and look hand-built in Excel or Word?
- Do you only talk to them when there’s a problem?
- Is your contact hard to get a hold of?
- If you answered yes to any or all the above, you are likely dealing with a micro IT company.
2. Prepare for the possibility that your micro IT company is going out of business.
- Talk to them now and ask if they’re still busy, how long can they go during a slower cash flow period, and if they have a backup plan if they get sick with COVID-19.
- Get your critical documentation securely sent to you, including:
- Admin passwords
- Domain name registrar credentials
- Backup system documentation
- Other key pieces of information a new IT company would need to manage your environment.
3. Line up a backup IT company who can step in if your micro IT company folds.
- Do your research, ask your peer businesses, and seek out relationships with top small-business focused IT companies (larger than 3 employees) in your area that are likely to survive a substantial economic downturn.
- If you find an IT provider you like, consider setting up a retainer and allowing them to learn your systems remotely during the slow period. Once we’re all through this downturn and the businesses hanging on by a thread close shop, there will be tremendous economic opportunity for those who survived. Set yourself up for success by lining up an IT company that can scale with your growth now.
- For PK Tech, we’re currently experiencing our highest ticket volume of the year from our existing clients shifting to a mostly work-from-home model, but we know there will be an influx of business in Arizona that will need IT services quickly. We’re maintaining staffing levels and preparing for the influx of demand from Arizona businesses needing Managed IT Services quickly in the upcoming months.
Hiring and using the same micro IT company for a long period of time is a common pattern we’ve seen when on-boarding new clients. As you grow, your IT gets more complex and you tend to outgrow the independent “IT Guy” or micro IT company when you grow past approximately 10 employees. However, many businesses haven’t taken the next step to hire a local IT company that specializes in providing IT solutions to companies of their size and industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic is clearly stressing smaller IT shops. It is imperative that you assess the risks to your business early. Is IT critical to your business generating revenue? If so, your IT provider is a critical vendor and they need to survive the pandemic so you can reap the rewards of the inevitable upswing.
If PK Tech can support you or your business during or after the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact us. We’re here to support your business whether it’s now--or months in the future.