Small business owners are no strangers to dealing with challenges, especially challenges stemming from the pandemic. Though customers have become more open to embracing digital experiences, a hybrid workforce, with employees working onsite and at home, and recent labor shortages have brought new complications. In addressing these challenges, small businesses can find plenty of opportunities for growth. An essential component to this growth is technology, which can increase productivity, improve processes and better serve customers.
Just in time for National Small Business Week, Comcast Business has compiled the following guidance to help small business owners make the most of their technology solutions.
Automation is not just a tool for enterprises – small businesses can benefit from it, too. By automating manual tasks, small business owners can save time and put more focus on activities that will add value to the business.
For example, small businesses can automate email responses to ensure fast and seamless communication, plus a better experience for customers, all while reducing time spent. This includes sending customer feedback surveys after a purchase or encounter. Automatic appointment reminders, self-serve scheduling and cancellation functionality also help cut down on time-intensive manual work and can help prevent gaps in scheduling.
Business can be done anywhere these days, not just in an office or at a desk. That means a business-grade mobile network is essential to keep up with the rapid pace of business operations, wherever they might be located.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for finding the best mobile solutions, so small businesses should assess their work environments to determine the type of plan they need. Consider how often employees are on WiFi versus relying on cellular data, as well as how much data is involved in day-to-day business activities. 5G coverage is good to consider, as it can support employees as they receive documents, presentations, images and more when they’re in the field.
With the increase of employees working outside of the business – at least some of the time – small businesses more than ever need to support connections for employees spread across multiple locations. A holistic approach to connectivity is key for a reliable connection and critical to supporting a distributed workforce.
For on-premise businesses, it’s critical to have access to a solution that’s fast, smart and allows for separate networks for front- and back-of-house operations. That way, employees and customers alike can stay reliably connected, whether it’s through a tablet in the hands of a restaurant server, an associate taking inventory or a guest connecting to WiFi.
Small businesses also should consider a cloud-based unified communications and collaboration system. Using these systems, employees can stay connected from anywhere with just one business number for both desktop phones and mobile devices. Additionally, features like auto attendant – a virtual receptionist – can help ensure that calls are answered at any time.
Despite the rise in mobile business communications, landlines are still important to include when considering connectivity upgrades. Using a VoIP system with landlines can simplify call transfers and routing, as well as offer automated attendants, among other features.
Implement a Cybersecurity Strategy
Small businesses today face the same cybersecurity risks that enterprise-level companies do – but often, they don’t have the resources that a full-sized security team can provide. That’s why it’s essential for small business owners to implement a cybersecurity strategy that helps keep operations productive and secure.
Technology plays a big role in cybersecurity for businesses. Powerful tools that help block threats like malware, ransomware, phishing and botnet attacks can help protect businesses. Measures, including firewalls, passwords and end-point protection, are also effective ways to protect businesses. In addition, small businesses should backup their systems regularly to help prevent a total loss of information if a breach occurs.
Business owners should also train employees regularly on how cyber breaches can occur to help build awareness around real-world threats. Employees are often targets of cyber scams. Building cybersecurity knowledge among employees is one of the best and easiest cybersecurity defenses small businesses have in their arsenal.
To stay productive and ready for what’s next, it’s important that small businesses rely on a mix of technology tools. Comcast Business offers a range of solutions to help small businesses achieve their goals, backed by reliable connectivity.