Technology is an important component for all businesses as it can enhance your operations – but only with the right technologies in place! With a small business, there is an instinct to save money on technology to “make do.” We respect that price is important but please try to think about how long the right system will last and how it will make things easier for you.
Below are five technology considerations for small businesses:
A VoIP phone system is basically a landline merged with a phone system. It can be picked up and moved to wherever you may be, as long as you have internet access. The key thing with a VoIP phone system is flexibility. So, if your business is based at home, you can plug your phone handset into your internet, then when you expand; move the same phone to your new office, without changing the phone number or handset.
Most small businesses would just choose to operate from their mobile and this can work, however, it is hugely beneficially to have a landline number, especially if you operate in multiple areas or with larger businesses. Also, with a good VoIP phone system, you should be able to utilise your landline number using your mobile.
The main consideration is to ensure your broadband is sufficient to handle it which brings us to our next point.
Broadband can make or break most businesses, small, medium or large. You need to think about how much you are going to use the internet. Particularly whether you are uploading or downloading a lot of files. Those who work in the creative industry such as where you are uploading videos need to give this a lot of thought.
Will you be using a VoIP phone system? Although the requirement is minimal, you still need to ensure that your broadband is sufficient.
You will also need to think about the difference between home and business broadband. One of the main advantages of Business broadband is their SLA’s so that if your broadband fails, you are higher up their priority list to get it fixed which means less downtime.
How long can you afford to be down? Remember, setting yourself up in Costa Coffee can only work for so long, also, think about the cost of the coffee to be there all day!
You are likely to be out and about a lot, especially if you are the business owner. A good mobile will be hugely beneficially. We aren’t just talking about the device, although, an old Nokia 3210 wouldn’t cut it these days.
We are talking about your mobile package – not just minutes, texts and data usage but your mobile coverage. For instance, if you are travelling the width and breadth of the country, can you get a good signal in most locations? For instance, BTT mobiles switch between networks to gain the best signal coverage.
Remember, flexibility is key. It also helps if your mobile is compatible with your hosted phone system (so you can answer as the business rather than diverting calls to voicemail) and other essential systems.
A CRM system is essential to keep everything centralised even if you are a one-man band.
A CRM system means that you will only have to look at the one system to view your sales, marketing, accounts and project progress.
It’s a common misconception that Disaster Recovery plans are for huge businesses with one or more offices. Whilst they do need to factor in more, small businesses also need to be aware of what to do in a disaster such as a cyber-attack.
A lot of DR plans will be based around your back-ups, so think about the following, how often are your documents backed up? Are they backed up to more than one location? How quickly can you gain access? How quickly can you be operational? What documents need to be backed up more frequently?