Remember the early days of your business? It was simpler then. At first it was just you and a great idea. Then it was you and a couple of staff. A few computers linked into one printer using the A/B switchbox that your buddy who was into computers ordered on line. He’d come in once a month, fix a few problems and you’d buy him lunch to say thank you.
What Happens When Your Business Grows?
A few more years of treating your customers right and you really started growing. You got propriety software and a server to connect all the pieces. Your friend would help you, right? Like always? Oh, he agreed, but there was a haunted look in his eyes. Maybe it was taking too much time. And maybe it was now more complicated than he’d ever bargained for.
Now Everyone is Stressed Out and At Risk
It’s not fair to ask a friend to handle your business I.T. And it’s not good for your business. It’s a serious job to run a small business network. (Click here to download our free report: 21 Revealing Questions You Should Ask Any Computer Consultant Before Giving them Access to Your Network). It’s a lot of responsibility for someone who isn’t professionally trained. It’s a full time job learn how to be a network administrator and to keep up with the changes in technology. Is your friend going to learn that in their free time?
And what if they do mess up your system? By accident, for sure, but that could ruin even the best friendship. They’d feel badly, especially if it caused problems or lost money for your company. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a friend.
Your Network Needs Professional Treatment, Too
It’s also not good for your network. You use professionals for the rest of your business. Your computer network is a key piece of your business. What would happen to you, your customers and your employees if all the information in that system was lost? Would it be the end of your business? It very often is.
Here’s the awkward part if you’ve already got a friend working on your network. How do you tell them you want to make a change? It’s a good bet that they’ll be relieved when you let them know you’re bringing in a professional I.T. firm.
How One Growing Company Handled the Transition
Bob (names have been changed) had been helping his friend David as a favor since the very beginning of David’s pest control business. Bob enjoyed tinkering with computers and had been the office “Alpha Geek” in his job. It wasn’t hard; it didn’t take much to keep the computers running at first. They’d make a trip down to the electronics store a couple times a year to add a new box or upgrade the old ones and that was good enough.
But as David’s business grew, so did his computing needs. Bob felt the strain of working on a network that he barely knew how to deal with, but he didn’t know how to bring it up. Until the day he was working on David’s computer and he saw a marketing letter from a local I.T. firm sitting on the desk. He was pissed for just a minute and then he realized this was his opportunity to broach the subject.
Let Your Friend Just Be a Friend
David had wondered how he was going to let his buddy off the hook without insulting him. When Bob showed him the letter, David was embarrassed that he’d been caught looking around. But Bob assured him that he was ready to let the pros take over. David brought in the firm and Bob was glad to be relieved of the responsibility of working on something that was over his head. David’s got great, proactive IT support that he doesn’t hesitate to call if he has problems and he and Bob are still friends to this day.
Don’t risk your business, your livelihood or your friendship by asking a buddy to poke around in your computer network. Time to take the next step in running your business, and time to let your friend just be your friend.