Does Your Business Need an IT Manager or HelpDesk?
by Robert McNicholas on June, 08 2017
Small-business owners and operators may not think they need to hire an IT manager. After all, a small business is just that—small. Perhaps you have a total staff of 10 or 15, with one person filling in as your chief IT guru in between their regular duties. (And hey, this setup is pretty common and workable.) Before we reveal the answer to this question, we’ll pose another: how big can a small business be?
The Surprisingly Expandable Small Business
To decide when a small business needs an IT manager, let’s first determine what a small business is. For the definition, we turn to the Small Business Administration’s website.
“SBA defines a business concern as one that is organized for profit; has a place of business in the U.S.; operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor; is independently owned and operated; and is not dominant in its field on a national basis. The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or any other legal form.”
This covers a whole lot of businesses, and the actual number of employees and amount of profit varies by industry. In a very generalized sense, a small business in the US can have a maximum employee count of 250 to 1,000, and it can generate from $750,000 to $7 million in revenue. In some industries, these numbers soar to 1,500 employees and over 30 million in income.
So are you a small-business owner or manager? Chances are, you’re answering, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.” Then when do you need a specialized manager for your IT department?
When Small Businesses Need an IT Manager
When might you need an IT Manager?
- When your business IT needs are becoming more complex. Maybe you’ve hired a handful of full-time IT people, but you’re still having to regularly stop or slow operations because your IT department doesn’t have the necessary experience to meet your needs.
- Your IT department is getting bigger. Most general managers know enough about IT to get an overall idea of their business’s setup. However, the kinds of IT systems that need a sizeable staff usually also require expert management—something that calls for a combination of computer knowledge and organization skills.
- You need a cohesive whole. Even a good IT department needs a leader who can plan for future growth.
- You don’t want to keep calling in outside help. This is especially true when you’re expanding your business and you need an onsite, full-time manager with experience in planning and implementing new IT systems.
What to Look for in an IT Manager
Obviously, an IT manager needs to be a seasoned professional who has a deep understanding of how a business depends on an optimized computer setup. For the most part, IT managers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field and several years of experience on top of that. Some may have certifications by Cisco, Microsoft, CompTIA, and other well-known organizations; others may come with a graduate degree in business or computers.
And don’t forget about the personal traits of a successful IT manager. He or she should have excellent communication skills, be able to oversee and motivate other employees, and be able to plan and manage IT strategy to meet company goals. As a manager, this person should also be comfortable hiring, training, and evaluating employees.
For more info on IT manager jobs and qualifications, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics job overview here.