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Small business owners often juggle many balls at once. However, take your eye off one ball for even a short time, and the whole lot comes tumbling down. Similarly, taking your eye off technology, could result in very expensive consequences. Avoiding the common mistakes we identify here though is a good starting point.

Paying upfront for software
Whether it’s due to a lack of experience or lack of expertise, many small business owners rush into buying software solutions without undertaking the necessary due diligence. In particular, it’s amazing how many do not take advantage of the trial offers or free demonstrations that most providers offer. A trial or demo is a great way to test drive the software. Indeed, getting your hands dirty is often the only way to make sure that the software offers the solution your business is looking for.

Not backing up data enough
The best rule to follow for data backup is the 3-2-1 rule: three copies of data, two types of media and one off-site location. In addition, it’s a good idea to test your backup provider to make sure they are reliable. It may be a disaster that will never happen, but the possible enormous consequences of not having your data backed up make it imperative that you get it right.

Not preparing for the worst
This scenario is closely linked to that of backing up. What would happen to your data and information in the event of a natural disaster? In New Zealand especially, the threat of an earthquake is very real. But how seriously have you considered what would happen to your data or computer systems in the event of a fire or flood? Or what would you do if your employees couldn’t get to work because of an earthquake? Not having a plan of action is foolhardy as experience in the aftermath of the Canterbury Earthquakes suggests that the chaos can last for weeks, months, even years. Being prepared will help mitigate against the inevitable loss of revenue following a natural disaster.

Inadequate succession planning
All too often small businesses are overly dependent on the naturally tech-savvy staff member who is an expert in all things IT. If a staff member is keen and knowledgeable, it’s tempting to let them get on with it. But what happens if that staff member leaves suddenly or goes off on long-term sick leave? Who else knows when the domain name is up for renewal? Or who can troubleshoot an issue with a PC? Having all that business-critical information invested in one individual is unwise. Spreading the knowledge throughout the organisation will mean that when that individual leaves, a range of people will be able to step up to the mark.
Even if you are not particularly technologically aware yourself, as a small business owner it pays to have an overview of IT within the business. Failure to do so could result in lost money or data for your company.