More opportunities means more chances to succeed—or fail.
Small business tech mistakes are one of the primary reasons why 70 percent of businesses struggle with expanding. But when you’re squaring off against bigger opponents with larger budgets and state-of-the-art tools, you need technology. To compete, you have to hit the ground running with business tech that accelerates your growth.
Luckily, technology is more accessible and specialized than ever, with tools for everything from accounting to email marketing. But picking and implementing the right tech tools for your business comes with its own set of pitfalls. Selecting the wrong service can lead to lost time and productivity. Losses like that could lead to your joining the 50 percent of businesses that fail within four years.
How to avoid small business tech mistakes.
To help you steer clear of tech mistakes, here are a few of the most common problems small businesses face.
#1. Neglecting to back up your data
The realization that you need to back up you data usually doesn’t hit until it’s too late. By then, your data’s gone or inaccessible and you’ve become a cautionary tale. Companies that lose their data have a 60 percent chance of shutting down within six months of the loss. This is especially if you’re just getting your business off the ground.
Maybe you have a backup system in place. But is it manual or automatic. If it’s a manual backup, when was the last time you backed up your data? If it’s automatic, have you verified when it last backed up your system? When it comes to your data, don’t trust—always verify.
Another suggestion is to use off-site, or cloud-based storage. Employees can then access data even when they’re off site or if your office becomes inaccessible. It also helps to maintain your data in more than one place—in the Cloud and in physical hard drives, for example. Finally, it helps to perform a “dry run” and simulate a data loss. Then you can see how accessible your backup data is and how quickly you could get your business up and running again.
#2. Moving to the Cloud without an adequate network in place
Many services are moving to the Cloud, usually so they can offer customers cuts to cost, on-site hardware, maintenance, etc. These services include nearly every department of a business, including accounting and billing, customer relationship management (CRM), project management, and voice services.
But if you’re shifting your operations to the Cloud, you’ll want to make sure your network can handle it. Cloud services means more traffic across your Internet connection, which means you need more bandwidth. The last thing your employees need is to deal with slowdowns and Internet crashes. They’re expected to perform to grow the company, so they expect tools that support their responsibilities, not ones that will hamper them. As you consider the benefits of the Cloud and what bandwidth you’ll need, consider your business’ workflow, apps, number of workstations and employees, etc.
#3. Overlooking basic security
If you’re a startup or small business, you probably figure hackers have better things to do than come after you. There are bigger, more lucrative targets, right?
Cybercrime is big business (costing businesses around $500 billion a year now). But cyber criminals aren’t above targeting low-hanging fruit. That’s why 20 percent of small to mid-sized companies have found themselves in cyber criminals’ crosshairs. They see you as easy prey, and they’re not above coming after you. Especially if they consider you a soft target with little to no security measures in place.
That’s why, when it comes to security, you want to do your due diligence. The cost of security measures and employee training is negligible compared to the harm a cyber breach will cause. A breach not only has the potential to bring your company’s operations to a standstill, it can also cost you the trust of your customers, causing irreparable harm to your reputation.
So make sure you’ve covered these bases with these basic security measures:
- Maintain a business-class firewall
- Invest in antivirus and malware protection
- Practice password security
- Secure your wireless networks
- Regularly download security patches to your operating system.
#4. Not planning for for mobile devices
Like it or not, the bring your own device (BYOD) trend is part of the workplace now. It’s become integral to the everyday operations of both large and small organizations. And that means any technology policy you put in place should will also involve personal mobile devices.
First, emphasize to all employees that they should engage their personal device’s built-in security measures. That means using passwords, PIN numbers, multi-layered verification, fingerprint or facial recognition, etc.
Second, make sure you have remote wipe capabilities in place. Remote wipe capabilities allows you to completely wipe a device of all data if it’s stolen or compromised. Many personal mobile devices come with settings that wipes the device’s memory if someone enters a certain number of incorrect passwords. You should ask your employees to engage that setting, and warn them that you will use your remote wipe capability if there’s a danger their device could cause a security breach. They need to understand that BYOD places your company and their own personal data at risk, so they should do their part and be on their guard.
#5. Skipping employee training on new tech
Some technology is intuitive and doesn’t require much in-depth training. But the more powerful and far-reaching the tech, the more likely it will impact employees’ day-to-day activities and require training. Fail to properly prepare your employees and you’ll fail to realize the full value of your investment.
It’s also important to realize that, first, training is an ongoing process, and two, it’s a time investment. One upfront training usually isn’t going to get the job done. Ongoing follow-up trainings and updates are also required as the technology changes or receives updates. Employees also need time to play around with the technology, make non-critical mistakes, and learn how to correct any issues.
Technology should help you grow, not slow you down.
You invest in technology because you’re looking for an advantage over others in your space. Taking these simple steps will steer you clear of the most common small business tech mistakes and help you jump to the head of the class.
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