There is no getting around the fact that almost all businesses now use some form of digital technology. A website is regarded as an essential requirement for most companies in all sectors, and even those that don’t have their own websites likely use the Internet in some capacity, whether for ordering items, researching or simply staying in touch via email. If you don’t use the Internet, then you’re basically saying that you don’t want to do business.
While the majority of businesses understand the importance of having an online presence, not all have access to the essential web skills that can help them navigate the Internet arena. Many small companies, and some larger ones, do not have a dedicated IT department because they see this as peripheral to their main field of work, and as such, an unnecessary expense.
Central to business
In fact, though, IT is central to your business, whatever line of work you are in. Where would you be if all of your computers crashed tomorrow? What if you found that your email had been hacked and that you were passing on a virus to all of your clients or customers? It doesn’t bear thinking about, but it needs to be considered. Cybercrime is not a rare occurrence but a regular feature of modern life, especially in business, that all people need to be prepared to deal with. And that’s leaving aside the strong possibility of non-malicious disruption due to hardware malfunction, bugs in the software, glitches, incompatibility and so on.
If your company really can’t afford a dedicated IT department, or even if it can, you might want to consider using the services of a specialist IT contractor. This person can assist on an as-needed basis with web design, IT security and database maintenance or can simply act as a valued consultant. IT contractors bring the specific skills needed to fix the problem at hand, so you don’t need to pay them a full-time salary, just for eventualities that may only arise once in a blue moon.
Using a contractor means they’ll come in and work a set contract at a fixed price, and once that job is done they can then move on to their next job. In this line of work this is the normal routine, and when it comes to payment a contractor can use an umbrella company to handle their pay and tax issues. The umbrella company can sort out contracts between the freelancer and your business and ensure that all necessary tax is paid. This type of company also handles IR35 and PAYE so that both parties can fulfil their legal obligations.
While specialists such as these will always be needed, there are some skills that all modern businesspeople are advised to acquire on their own, especially if they’re running a business more or less single-handedly. These include basic coding for troubleshooting or making minor adjustments to a company website. Learning basic HTML/CSS skills isn’t hard, and it can save you from paying someone a sizeable amount to do a job that you can complete yourself in a few minutes.
A solid understanding of SEO and web analytics is also essential for understanding how your website is performing and how you can make it work better for you. These web skills can put you back in control of your Internet business.