Single Source Supplier

Since most SME businesses do not have extensive IT expertise they should look for a single source supplier for all hardware, software, service and support. If you have to deal with multiple suppliers you will have to decide which one is responsible if there is a problem, having a single supplier removes this significant issue. Probably overlooked by most people a stage that needs thinking about, how do you come up with your shortlist. Its not uncommon to take the path of least resistance and think of people you know or ask around for people. You need a plan this stage as much as any!

So what are the requirements for people to get on your shortlist and how do you find them?

Look for companies that meet the following requirements.
1. Strongly recommended by friends (but do avoid using friends of your own).
2. A relevant certification ie. Microsoft’s partner program or their Small business specialist qualification.
3. Look for companies that belong to groups and organisations. It will be easier to investigate their history.
4. Its worth looking for companies with a local presence, although its not vital
5. Ask anybody who has made your shortlist if they can recommend anybody else you can talk to.

How can you find companies for your shortlist.
1. Search for them on the internet “IT Support in MY TOWN”. – Obvious!
2. Look at Yell.com
3. Use resources from providers such as Microsoft’s Pinpoint service
4. Ask your networking contacts who they know that they can recommend.
5. Talk to Business Link or other trusted advisers and ask them to make recommendations.

I suggest talking to the 6 that look the best.

Facetime

Make your shortlist and then contact them requesting a face to face meeting.