Startups have a lot to consider in their early days. Everything from determining your minimum viable product to figuring out product-market fit is an important consideration that could be the difference between success and failure.
Watching where your money is spent is critical in those early days, as is building out your team. But, at a certain point, you need to ask yourself, “Do I need to hire for this?” The temptation is to build out your team with everyone that you’re going to need right from the start, especially your IT team. Having the technical knowledge you need in-house is great. But it comes at a cost.
In-house IT teams can help you stay on top of your tech needs, but with each member of the team costing you roughly $100,000 in salary, it doesn’t take long for those costs to balloon out.
Even with the temptation of that in-house technical knowledge, startups have to watch their costs. Building out a full team right away seems like a good idea, but it can also be one way to ensure you don’t have enough money left to build and market your product. Even more important is that 29% of startups fail because they run out of money.
Running out of money doesn’t just come from labor costs, especially in New York City. Real estate costs are high, taxes are high, and, because there’s an up and coming startup scene in NYC, find good employees can be challenging. That’s why many startups have been turning to managed service providers (MSP) to get high-level expertise, without paying an arm and a leg for their IT needs.
What is a managed service provider?
Managed service providers are a team of experts who monitor and manage your tech. A lot of what MSPs do is done remotely, like monitoring and updating systems. But they also take care of in-house needs, as well, such as setting up new servers or running cable to new office setups.
Much like an in-house team – MSPs take care of all your technical requirements. They help you manage the various aspects of your tech needs like:
- Installation of new systems, like bare metal servers or employee workstations
- Cyber-threat monitoring and management
- Backup and disaster recovery
- Updating and patching systems
- Network monitoring and management
MSPs often get used in two ways. The first is they’re used to supplement the in-house team. They’re there to help take care of things the in-house team may not have time for, like monitoring for cyberattacks. The second is they function as the main IT team for your business – fully outsourced – as a way of completely managing the technology infrastructure during those critical early years.
The benefits of working with an MSP as a startup
MSPs don’t just help manage your IT needs. They benefit startups in a multitude of ways that go beyond the technical.
Let’s take a look at some of the way MSPs help startups.
This is the big one for most startups. We’ve already mentioned how 29% of startups fail because they run out of money and that staffing can play a huge role in that. MSPs reduce the costs of having the team you need, by providing an IT team for a flat rate. This lets you get the support you need at a consistent price, without blowing through your budget because of unexpected costs.
A good MSP will take this one step further and work with you to create a monthly package that covers all your needs, without having to pay for services that you don’t use. These monthly packages are all-inclusive. This means that you get unlimited coverage both remotely and on-site to solve problems as they arise. Best of all, you don’t have to commit to a long-term contract to get this level of service.
Increased compliance and security monitoring
Compliance and cybersecurity are major concerns for most businesses these days, but especially for smaller startups. Not only are small businesses the target of 43% of cyberattacks, but of those businesses that are targeted, 60% go out of business within six months. Startups get targeted because they often don’t have a dedicated IT team making sure that everything is protected. MSPs help by providing 24/7 monitoring of all systems.
Similarly, it’s important to have full compliance within your organization. And, because of constantly changing regulations, staying current can be a challenge. MSPs stay up to date on all the current requirements, like GPDR and CCPA, to help ensure that you stay compliant and avoid costly fines.
For most businesses, downtime isn’t an option. It affects your ability to do your job and it affects your customer’s ability to use your product or service. In a recent survey, 37% of businesses claim to have lost customers to downtime and another 17% say downtime has cost them revenue.
The cost of downtime can be staggering. Depending on what stage of growth you’re at, the cost is anywhere from $427 per minute for smaller companies up to $9,000 per minute for larger ones. That means there very little room for error where downtime is concerned. The faster you deal with problems like this, the better.
The problem is that internal IT teams can’t always drop everything to deal with an issue. They may have other emergencies they’re handling or something happens on the weekend when the team is off. MSPs are always on and always watching. If something goes down, they’re ready to get things up and running again ASAP to minimize the impact of technical issues, like downtime, on your business.
More focus on your business
The smaller the team, the fewer people there are to focus on any one given task because they’re all being pulled away from their core competencies by other issues that come up. Not surprisingly, tech issues can be a huge time suck for employees. The average employee spends up to 22 minutes a day dealing with technical issues. That amounts to one full day a month that each employee is taken away from their jobs.
MSPs help you reclaim that time by removing the need to deal with technical problems. When something happens, you call your MSP and they deal with all your ITissues. You gain more time to focus on proper business growth and your technical issues get solved by people who know what they’re doing.
Scaling and growth are great for a business, but it comes with its own set of challenges. And, not surprisingly, a good number of those challenges are technical.
Depending on where you’re at in your business’s lifecycle this could be things like needing to add more employee workstations, adding additional server capacity, or even moving offices.
Not only is important to be prepared for these as part of increased growth, but it’s just as important to be prepared for scaling down and adapting to changes in the workforce, like the recent shift to large-scale work from home situations that we’ve seen as a result of the current global pandemic.
MSPs put you in a position to keep your tech lined up with the pace of company growth and make the process seamless providing experts who are up-to-date on current best practices and technology, who know what’s needed to get you to that next level, and they help you make it happen in a way that minimizes the impact of your productivity. For example, adding innovative new technology to facilitate scaling becomes easier with an MSP because you don’t have to wait for your in-house team to learn how to implement it. If you need to change the layout of your office to accommodate new staff members, an MSP can help with that. Same if you need to move to a bigger, or smaller, office or if you need to switch to work from home.
What to consider before choosing an MSP
When you start looking for an MSP, the first thing you need to do is take look at your business. You do this because it’s critical that you choose an MSP that helps you solve the specific technical problems that you have within your business. For example, working with an MSP who understands the unique challenges of working in NYC helps a lot when you’re a startup in NYC.
First, look at where your business is today. What kind of business needs do you have? What kinds of technical issues are you facing? How are you managing technical issues and how much is it costing, both financially and in time, to manage those issues? These questions can help you establish a baseline for the kind of services you’ll need from an MSP.
Once you know that, look to the future. Based on current numbers, are you likely to grow or downsize in the future? Do you have a plan to take things to the next level or are you happy with things as they are now? Are you launching a new product or service soon? Asking yourself questions like this helps you understand what the technical needs of your business will be in the future.
When you think about that mix of where you are now as a business and where you’re going, you start to gain a better understanding of what you’ll need from as MSP.
Finally, ask MSPs questions that help you gauge how they can help you both now and in the future. A provider isn’t going to be much use to you if they’ll offer great service until you grow and you find out they can’t help you add more servers, or that it will end up costing you a fortune to do so. Don’t be afraid to dig into your specific needs and ask how they will help you.
The goal is to find a company that can put together a package that addresses your needs, both present and future. You want a company that isn’t just going to help you for a while, then leave you hanging when it’s time to grow. You want a company that you can trust and call your partner through boom and bust.
If you want to learn more about how Manhattan Tech Support can become your trusted IT partner, let’s talk. We work with startups to understand their specific needs and create plans that help you save money, focus more on your business, and relieve the stress of managing technical problems on your own. Contact us today to learn more.
Kaytuso – the cybersecurity & regulatory compliance division of ManhattanTechSupport.com LLC.
Exceed Digital – the custom software development and business intelligence solutions division of ManhattanTechSupport.com LLC