We witness small businesses throwing money away on technology more often than we’d like to. Frequently in ways that the business managers don’t even recognize. Here are a few of the most common hidden costs of wasteful IT resources:

Purchasing inferior, consumer-grade hardware. When you have equipment that belongs at home and expect it to work for your business, you and your staff will spend more time and money overcoming the shortfalls than you’ve saved by purchasing the cheaper gear. Please purchase well specified professional grade hardware.

Key staff fighting  computer problem. When your staff is forced to fight with computer problems, instead of focusing on the business at hand, you are losing money. Typically, the most expensive resource you have are the people you’ve hired to work for you. Squandering their time cost money – lots of money. It also erodes your employees’ engagement, productivity, morale and job satisfaction.  I have spoken with many lawyers and accountants who charge well over $200 per billable hour, but spend part of every day fighting computer problems. That’s nuts!

Getting adequate IT help. Do you know anyone who has hired their nephew, or a one-man shop, to network their computers? So do I; it usually doesn’t work out well. They typically lack the depth and breadth of experience to be technically sound – much less bring any business insight to the table. They can’t respond quickly enough to your needs; so, you and your staff wait for them – prolonging whatever problems you have.

Hiring an in-house IT guy. When you hire someone full-time to take care of your technology, you are wasting money. Typically, these individuals cannot have the depth and variety of skills required to support your entire business. So,  you’re forced to use outside resources to cover the lack of knowledge or experience-gap. Additionally, as an employee, they get to take vacation, sick days, personal days and utilize every other benefit you offer. Moreover, they can quit anytime, leaving you in a lurch. If you’re lucky and find a very skilled IT practitioner, it’s unlikely that they will be engaged in your business for more than a year or two. They will address the challenges you hired them to solve and be on cruise control. Do you need someone on your payroll who’s on cruise control?

Outsourcing your IT to a traditional ‘break and fix’ firm. If you’re engaged with one of these, you’ll call them when something is broken. They fix it, then bill you for the time required to do so. The problem here is a matter of alignment and incentive. How do you avoid the underlying economic incentive…? They get paid more when your technology is broken. They get paid more when it takes them a long time to fix it. They are not invented to make your technology work consistently and efficiently long-term.


Brightsource IT is an Information Technology provider located in St. Louis, Missouri. We have been providing complete IT management and tech support for small and medium businesses since 2004. As members of the Apple Consultants Network, we also provide Mac and iOS management training to corporate IT departments.

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