There’s no doubt that events in 2020 will be on the minds of many small business owners for some time to come. However, to get things back in order and return to a sense of normalcy and security with your business, you need to spend your time attracting new customers and delighting current ones.
You’ll also need to ensure your employees have the tools and technology they need to meet consumers’ needs, and get their work done, whether working remotely or in the office. That can be difficult if you’re worried about things like a data security breach or if employees can’t access critical documents and business applications from home.
Get back your time and preserve your peace of mind by exploring five ways technology can help your business return to normal, and thrive in the days ahead.
1. Reliable Technologies Build Resilience
Your customers and staff depend on you. They expect you to be on top of everything, from updating business hours online to troubleshooting why they’re locked out of business software. To multitask successfully, you need reliable infrastructure. Crucial elements like fast business internet and seamless wireless connections throughout your building must be stable and always available. If you manage a virtual workforce, then your daily functions depend on secure services, such as:
- Consistent internet speed for video conferencing
- Affordable business internet plans with high speeds
- Built-in network redundancy, like backup internet services
- Reliable VPN solutions for small business
- Dedicated internet access with a business firewall
- Stable small business phone services for in-house and remote teams
- Access to cloud storage from anywhere
- Regular data backups that automatically secure your information
By selecting the right business internet providers and technology services, you don’t have to worry if your software is up to date or fret about the cost of downtime. Instead, your staff remains productive while accessing customer data safely.
2. Business Internet Security Solutions Reduce Downtime
Your business collects a lot of information. You store customer names, addresses, and payment methods. And you’re responsible for the safe handling of this data. Furthermore, you rely on your website for sales and communication. Cyber-attacks can cripple your services and steal critical information, resulting in downtime and lost revenue. A recent BullGuard survey of SMB owners reports:
- 5% have suffered from a cyber-attack or data breach within the past year.
- 50% said it took 24 hours or longer to recover from a breach or cyber-attack.
- 25% stated they had to spend $10,000 or more to resolve the attack.
- 25% reported they lost business as a result, and nearly 40% stated they lost crucial data.
Unfortunately, the shift to remote workforces leaves your company even more vulnerable. Employees retrieve business data via personal devices and home WiFi. Securing and standardizing these channels is challenging.
Small Business Tech Solutions Enhance Safety
The right technology provider offers affordable solutions to improve your security. For example, employing small business antivirus software that automatically updates is a great way to ensure you’re protected against the latest threats. Taking steps to improve router security and using managed security solutions are additional steps you can employ to reduce cyber-risks.
Eliminating your security concerns is not only a stress reliever. It also breaks down barriers to adding new digital technologies, with Deloitte finding that “34% of small business owners reported privacy and security concerns” as a hurdle to embracing technology.
3. Cloud Technology Provides Mobility and Flexibility
Accessing vital data like inventory records or customer details, is crucial to businesses. Although your office may offer easy access via your network, many owners scrambled to deliver the same customer and employee experiences while working remotely.
And virtual workforces aren’t going away. Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll find, “One in four US workers are working entirely from home.” Moreover, a QuickBooks Small Business survey shows, “13% of small business owners say all new employees they hire will work remotely or at home.”
Technology helps your workforce collaborate and manage data from anywhere and at any time. Instead of cobbling together various remote platforms, managed services, like unified communications (UC), give you a dashboard and puts everything in one spot. Your teams spend less time finding and opening applications resulting in higher productivity levels and better customer experiences.
Of course, an increase in collaboration also leads to greater employee satisfaction rates resulting in a win for your company, clients, and staff. Today’s workers want flexibility and convenience. Through technology, you can support your teams and enable everyone to reach company-wide objectives.
4. Managed Services Support Business Continuity
As business owners navigate the new normal, they’re focusing on ways to adjust to swift changes. According to Gartner, cloud services, subscription products, and cloud services lower costs while providing business continuity. Moreover, an increased need for collaboration results in more cloud-based conferencing requirements. Gartner predicts in 2020:
- Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is expected to grow by 13.4%.
- Cloud-based conferencing is projected to increase by 46.7%.
For each risk to your company, it’s essential to search for ways various technologies, like managed services, can reduce threats. Verify that you can access critical functions in and out of the office. Then make a plan to get the most from your technologies.
Identify How Technology Aids Your Recovery Efforts
If you haven’t updated your business continuity and disaster recovery plans recently, it’s a good idea to start. Assess your critical business components and look for ways to keep your doors open and workers productive, regardless of what’s going on in the world. Business continuity planning involves four steps:
- Complete a business impact analysis to identify vital business activities.
- Develop a recovery plan for essential functions.
- Create strategies to alleviate stressors from business disruption.
- Evaluate your plan to find gaps and prepare staff.
5. Technology Opens the Door to Future Growth
Developing long-term plans is difficult because it involves predicting how your brand will change and adjust alongside your customers. Regardless of your strategy, increasing revenue and market share is a top priority. Technology helps you reach future goals. Deloitte finds “digitally advanced small businesses realized significant benefits,” over less tech-savvy counterparts, including:
- Earning two times as much revenue per worker
- Seeing revenue grow nearly four times over the previous year
- Being about three times as likely to create jobs compared to the past year
- Having an average employment growth rate more than six times as high
By securing key technologies, like cloud services and a modern, small business phone system, you remove barriers to growth. And with “28% of small business owners saying they’re selling more products and services online,” according to QuickBooks, many entrepreneurs simply can’t afford to be left behind.
Strengthen Your Workforce With Technology
Lastly, technology improves employee satisfaction, which is a key factor in growth. Data from Deloitte shows, “43% of US small business owners and managers stated that the use of digital tools within their business improves employee satisfaction in the workplace.”
Technology, when used correctly, connects people leading to positive brand impressions. By deploying the right solutions in your workplace, you can reduce costs, boost revenue, and build a robust reputation.
Ease Your Small Business Concerns by Embracing Technology
Achieve successful outcomes by selecting the right mix of technologies to support your growing business. Managed service providers and your ISP help you design systems to suit your existing needs while offering an easy transition into new workflows. Although small business budgets are tight, investing in technology saves you money while providing new revenue streams.
Learn how you can have peace of mind like 1000’s of other small business owners with a custom business solution from Cox Business. Visit us at www.coxbusiness.com.
- Back to Business – A Step by Step Guide to Reopen Your Small Business - January 5, 2021
- 5 Ways Technology Can Provide Peace of Mind for Small Business Owners - October 5, 2020
- What Retailers Need to Know About the Journey of Today’s Shoppers - April 30, 2019