Today there are a number of critical technology for small business - tools and services that will help them succeed (and thrive) in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business world. If you are wondering what new technology your small business needs to start leveraging to keep up with how your customers (and potential customers) do their research, and make their purchases in 2019, this is the guide for you.
Let’s dive into the 5 critical technology needs for small business today, and discuss how to choose the right solutions, and exactly how they can positively impact your own business.
1. Mobile Technology
Today, technology is all about mobile. More and more, the average person (your potential and existing customers included) are living in a mobile world. You can begin to leverage this mobile technology to your advantage - to better serve your customers, make your team members more efficient, and drive business growth into the future. Mobile is one of the most unavoidable technology needs for small business in 2019 (and into 2020 - and beyond).
Mobile Payment Methods
This is a pretty simple one. Today, there are attachments and apps for your smartphones that will allow you to take credit card payments from your customers anywhere (there are even attachments that read CHIP cards). If you are a service business and visit your customers’ homes to provide your services, taking payment on-site immediately is the perfect way to avoid the hassle of billing and tracking down the payments that you are due for your work.
This is a must-have for any on-site service provider - and it is so much more affordable and simple to implement than you would ever imagine.
A desktop computer just doesn’t cut it today. Heck, even laptops are going the way of the Dodo. Today’s workforce relies heavily on the ability to access data / work wherever they are (at home, sitting at the train station, having a quick bite and a cup of coffee, at work).
Tablets that provide the power and performance of a solid laptop from 5 years ago are not uncommon (nor are they cost-prohibitive). Another popular option for businesses is 2-In-1s - these convertible systems give you the benefits of both a laptop and a tablet all in one machine.
Xorca can help you look into today’s all-in-one devices and popular business-class machines, and determine which systems will help your team be as efficient as possible without breaking the budget or sacrificing performance.
This one is actually pretty simple - if your website is not built to look great on all devices (especially smartphones and tablets) then you are missing out on about half of the potential market for your services. That’s how many people do their searching on their mobile device - according to SearchEngineLand
mobile searches account for 57% of all searches now.
If you website doesn’t look great on their mobile device (or takes way too long to load) then you are going to miss connecting with them and lose out on a potential new customer.
2. Collaboration Tools
Collaboration might be the most critical of all the technology needs of small business today. As budgets get tighter and tighter, getting the maximum work and return out of our teams is 100% absolutely crucial. Any tool that you can use to allow your employees to work faster and better with each other is a sound investment.
Collaboration tools can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including:
- Communication tools (messengers, email platforms)
- Document sharing / markup platforms
- Virtual conferencing technology
- Softphone / VIP technology
- Cloud / shared storage and backups
One of the fastest ways to increase profits is to increase the efficiency of your workforce - and today’s collaboration tools can make that happen for you. Check our detailed information on Cloud Computing
to learn more about how these online collaboration can truly help your business succeed.
3. Data Storage / Backups
Cloud storage and backups for data, images, video, documents, and more have taken the business world by storm. Today’s cloud storage options provide several significant advantages over traditional forms of data storage and backup, including:
- Remote access to your data / documents
- Collaborative editing / marking up
- Simple and affordable high-quality storage
Cloud storage may well be one of the most important and critical technologies to begin using in your own small business. Check out my complete article on The Importance of Backing Up Your Data Properly
to learn the different data storage / backup options that are available to your business - and which one might be the best solution for your specific needs. And, if you want assistance in choosing the very best backup / data storage solutions for your business, check out my Data Storage / Backup Consulting
4. Top Line Cyber Security
Cyber threats are more advanced, and broadly used now than ever before. In fact, cyber crimes cost businesses millions of dollars every year. Between identity theft, lost data, loss of customer confidence, and lost time, how much would a major cyber attack cost your business?
For further detailed information on today’s cyber security concerns and tools for your business, check out our recent blog post all about the essential concerns and solutions for network security
Luckily, there are some incredible (and extremely affordable) cyber security tools and services that you can take advantage of today. Three of the most important cyber security tools you can use in your business today include:
Email is one of the largest vulnerabilities that any small business has these days. Incredibly complex, and dangerous, cyber attacks (like phishing attacks) are becoming more and more popular with cyber criminals - because they work.
One of the biggest reasons that email attacks can be so dangerous is the human element. If the proper tools, services, and protocols are not in place, just one of your employees can let a very damaging cyber attack through into your internal network.
I have an entire article on Email Security Tools & Best Practices
that you can take a read through and for your own email security vulnerabilities, and what you can do to better protect yourself.
A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is another one of the critical technology needs for small business. Essentially, a VPN will allow you (or your team members) to work from home (or anywhere) and access the information / data / documents on your work network securely, as if they were connected to the work network from inside the building.
Additionally, a VPN can keep prying (and dangerous) eyes off your browsing / personal data when you are using public networks (such as when you are on the wifi at your local Starbucks). This level of security used to be a luxury, but today, with our reliance on technology for work, and the cost of data breaches, it is nothing less than imperative.
Having an SSL Certificate on your business’ website is no longer optional. Google has announced that it is now one of the factors that determines how high you will rank in the search engines. Why? Simple - searchers routinely click on secure search results (HTTPS) far more often than non-secure results (HTTP) - and Google wants you to protect any data / information that you might gather from your visitors.
In fact, Google’s Chrome Browser will now warn a web searcher if the website they are visiting does not have an SSL Certificate with a “NOT SECURE” warning right next to the address. How much time do you think that visitor is going to spend on your website with that warning when they go right your competitor’s SECURE website.
You should want to do everything you can to protect the personal information that your customers and visitors trust you with - an SSL Certificate on your website is one of the simplest ways that you can do that. If you need assistance getting an SSL Certificate setup, there is a great walkthrough on installing a free SSL Certificate
over on the 607WebSolutions website - you should check it out.
5. Sales / Marketing / CS Tools
Sales, marketing, and customer service can often seem like black holes that we just throw money from our businesses into. However, today’s technology, especially cloud services and tools, make these critical business functions more accountable and profitable than ever before.
There are so many tools that you can use in your small business today to bring your sales, marketing, and service back on track, including:
- Help desk / ticketing platforms
- Sales / CRM platforms
- Email autoresponders
- FB Messenger autoresponders
- Virtual Assistants
- Marketing material creation platforms
- And so much more
If you are not taking advantage of today’s top technology to meet the sales and customer service needs for your business, you should start looking into these platforms - they are more powerful and affordable than you might imagine - and you will be glad you did.
Your Small Business Technology Leader
Xorca has been the premier provider of business IT services in Ithaca, NY
and across the Central NY region for more than 20 years. If you have questions about today’s technology and how to put it to work for your business, call me today and get a consultation setup. Don’t let old technology and lackluster IT put your business at risk a minute longer!