In the world of business, money makes the world go round. I shouldn’t have to tell you that, but it’s important to note regardless as tech companies – when starting out – have been known to bite off more than they can chew. It’s fairly easy to do, and unfortunately contributes to that grim statistic of only one third of businesses staying afloat after the first ten years.

Even if you have what seems like a watertight IT strategy in place, it’s quite possible you’ve underestimated what it will cost you. As such it’s imperative to not only plan your budget in line with your IT strategy, but you should also look at it from another angle; is this an IT strategy you can actually afford to implement? If not, how can you go about budgeting appropriately? Thus, here’s how to plan your IT budget with four nuggets of advice.

Cost Effectiveness is Key

The most expensive software is not always the most practical. The same goes for hardware; Macs may look pretty and come pre-loaded with a bunch of helpful programs, but they’re not what we would call user friendly to anyone who isn’t a seasoned Apple veteran. Also, some of the more recent models come with price tags that would make old Uncle Pennybags wince.

On the other hand, we wouldn’t recommend you skimp, either. Go too high and you risk wasting a portion of your budget on “all style, no substance” tech. Go too low, however, and you might end up with faulty equipment that’s been rated low for a reason, like Poundland sellotape.

how to plan your it budget

We also wouldn’t tell you to install Vista on your machines. We’re not heartless.

Talk with Your Team

Before pushing forward you should coerce with your colleagues and/or business partners to see if they have any recommendations on the best hardware, software and coffee machines. You might find you lead into conversations featuring such brilliant ice breakers as “well actually, we relied on this piece of software at my old job” or “this computer isn’t state of the art, but it’s second to none in terms of reliability.” These are just some of the conversations you want to be having with your team; it will seriously help out immensely when it comes to the implementation phase.

Get Your Stock Right

This is truly, truly vital to your business. Too few machines, for example, and you suddenly have too many employees twiddling their thumbs. Conversely, while having hardware in excess should be avoided, having some spares around can lessen the impact faulty equipment may have on your team.

This not only goes for the computers themselves, but also for equipment such as hard drives, monitors, removable storage devices, telephones, routers and teaspoons.

Don’t Leave Anything to Chance

Think about what your business will need; that is “need” in the strictest of definitions. First of all, regardless of whether you have one computer or a hundred, you will need data storage and backup solutions in place. Invest in SSDs, removable devices and cloud storage. If everything goes to pot (such as in the event of a hack or severe loss of data) you’ll at least have your data on hand to restore and get the business back on its feet in as little downtime as possible.

In short, if your business needs it, then it needs it. Skimping on key hardware and software for your business can doom it to failure, so be sure to cover all your bases early so it’s not biting you in the rump somewhere down the line. You can’t have a sandwich without bread, after all.