Lessons Learned from Mid-Size Businesses: CDW’s Business Rearview Mirror

One of the important lessons small businesses can learn is what mid-size businesses have done to grow. Learning from the mistakes of others is always better than learning from your own mistakes.
Mid size businesses might have more money and more resources than their smaller brethren but the things they’ve gone through in their strategic use of technology is something that small businesses need to copy.
As a small business owner, you might not have time to keep up with every aspect of technology – and you don’t have to. But working with your local technology consultant you can ensure that your core or key business processes are leveraging technology to the fullest potential.
CDW’s Business Rearview Mirror Survey is filled with insight and guidance for small businesses.
Some of the key findings, from CDW’s press release is:
Top Three Lessons Learned From the Business Rearview Mirror
Lesson 1: Integrate IT into your company’s strategy – early. The survey found that, while 98 percent of responding executives said their company had a defined IT strategy as a small business, those who viewed IT as a strategic or competitive resource tended to grow faster than companies that “spent just enough” to ensure that employees could do their jobs. Plus, 18% of respondents said that “Not integrating technology into our business strategy sooner” was their biggest IT mistake over the years.
Lesson 2: Understand as much as you can about technology. Know what is available, what technology your company uses and how it can help your business – but delegate the hands-on work to dedicated professionals as soon as you can.
The owner’s own technology savvy correlates to business success, as 73 percent of respondents who rate themselves as “total geeks” reported double-digit average annual growth in their businesses over the past 5 years. Close to half – 48 percent – of “total geeks” also reported that their businesses reached the 100-employee milestone with in 5 years of launch, compared to just one-third of all survey respondents.
Seventy-four percent of respondents were “totally involved” in IT decision making during their companies’ early growth. However, among the fastest growing firms – those reporting more than 20 percent average annual growth over the past 5 years – 49 percent said that they had a dedicated IT person or department on the payroll before they reached 100 employees in size, compared to just 24 percent for the entire survey population.
Lesson 3: Put the IT rubber to the business road. Capture the full advantage of technology your company acquires by looking for ways to apply it in production/project management, supply chain, business development and other high-return applications – and train your employees to use it.
Asked what their biggest IT mistake had been over the years, respondents’ top pick was, “Not taking advantage of the technology we did acquire,” and they ranked major technology applications for the most significant impact they had provided to the bottom lines of their companies.