One of the main reasons why roughly 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first 5 years is because they’re making technology mistakes. Technology is oftentimes overlooked when figuring out where to put your resources, but it’s necessary to keep up in order to stay up. When trying to build your business and compete with bigger competitors with larger budgets in general, you need to be able to accelerate your growth with technology that leaves you the peace of mind to focus on the business at hand.
Fortunately, we live in a time where technology has made great strides in accessibility and specialization – there are tools for everything from email marketing to accounting to scheduling and more. Choosing the right tech tools and selecting the service to provide them is paramount to maintaining and streamlining the processes of your small business. Sometimes you may want to go for the “cheapest” provider, but down the line, they end up causing you more trouble than you can afford and the goal is to continue growing not sinking every extra penny into correcting avoidable mishaps.
Here are a few key problems that small businesses face, and how to use technology to solve them:
1) Neglecting To Back-Up Data
Backing up data is almost always one of those things that you don’t realize you should have done until you need it, and by then it’s far too late. Within six months of a loss, companies have a 60% chance of shutting down and if you’re just trying to get your business off the ground it can be devastating.
Perhaps you already have a backup system in place, but are you absolutely confident in the process that you’re currently using? If you’re backing up data manually, when was the last time you actually did it? If it’s an automatic process, when was the last time you made sure it was working properly? When it comes to your data it never hurts to double and triple check, because finding out that these systems weren’t actually working never happens on a slow day.
A good solution all around is to use off-site or cloud-based storage. Employees aren’t limited to the office and can access necessary data even when in the field with clients or at home, and they aren’t limited to what files they “brought home in their briefcase”. You can always maintain your manual backups as well, but having your data stored in a separate place will help your business bounce back from a loss in a much more efficient manner.
2) Moving To The Cloud Before Building Your Network
Cloud-based services of all kinds – accounting and billing, customer relationship management (CRM), project management, and voice services – are becoming more and more prevalent. Moving to the Cloud allows many small businesses the opportunity to cut costs to their customers without sacrificing the quality of service.
The biggest mistake you can make is putting too much traffic into a network that isn’t ready for it. Your employees can’t do their jobs properly if the system is constantly crashing or lagging just because there isn’t enough bandwidth to go around. Make sure to account for the number of employees, workstations, and what programs you’ll need to have run smoothly on a daily basis when determining the amount of bandwidth you’ll need to maintain your network.
3) Overlooking Basic Security
You don’t want to underestimate the cost of cybercrime. Maybe you think that you’re a “small fry” and that hackers wouldn’t be interested in the information that you have in your systems, but you’d be wrong. Roughly 20% of small to mid-size companies are victimized every year because these criminals know that they’re less likely to invest in security and more likely to get them in the back door of the bigger “fish” who invested as much as they could.
Make sure to cover these basic security measures when researching the firm that will take care of your cybersecurity needs:
- Antivirus and Malware Protection
- Business-class Firewall
- Password Security
- Secure Wireless Networks
- Regular Updates to the Operating System
- Your customers rely on you to take care of their information – you definitely don’t want to make the mistake of letting them down!
4) Not Planning For “Foreign” Mobile Devices
Whether you like it or not, employees will want to use their own devices to complete their work. Any technology policy you put in place would also have to involve personal mobile devices, or you run the risk of an employee causing or exacerbating a breach unintentionally.
If your employees are going to be accessing sensitive data on their personal devices, they should be encouraged to utilize all available security measures and trained in preventative measures before the data is released.
Next, you have to make sure that you have remote wipe capabilities in place in the event that the device is stolen or compromised. You should ask your employees to engage that setting and warn them that you will have to use the capability of there’s a danger to their device that could cause a security breach. They need to understand that using their own devices puts your company and their personal data at risk, so they should be willing to do their part and be on guard.
5) Skimping On New Tech Training
Of course, there is technology that’s intuitive and doesn’t require a whole lot of training, but the more powerful and far-reaching the technology the more likely it will affect your employee’s daily activities so you’ll want to make sure that they are properly trained.
If your employees aren’t using the tech properly, then you aren’t getting the full value of your investment.
Maintaining that training is just as important as updates and changes come along, and your business would prosper far better using well-trained employees rather than rushing the process along and ending up with more mistakes than you can reasonably fix.
Use Technology to Help You Grow
You initially invest in technology because you’re trying to get that advantage over the competitors in your field. Recognizing these tech mistakes and putting in the effort to correct them can only keep you, and your business, moving forward.
When your customers have a question, phones are typically their first resort whether that means they’ll call or email or even video conference. If you’re looking for a business phone solution that requires less attention and cost but delivers more features and better value, then you’re looking for a hosted VoIP phone system.
Data Revolution is your Business Connection Technology company serving the entire Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama. We offer services in Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Destin, Navarre, Perdido, Mobile, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Crestview, Niceville, and Panama City.