Once you’ve identified and selected the right technology partner, the next step is identifying and selecting the tools that will best grow and support your business.
Every business is different, and your goals, challenges and day-to-day tasks should guide how you decide to direct your money. There are many decisions a business owner has to make along the way, but regarding telecom, we at Windstream think these three are worthy of careful consideration.
1. How much speed do I need?
Your website is often a customer’s first impression of your business, conveying your brand and setting you apart from the competition. But the use of that website, and exact Internet speed at your business location, depends on the mechanics of your specific business. Will your business website be a hub of ecommerce? Will customers be using tablets with card readers at your point of sale? (According to Palo Alto Software survey of 500 small businesses, 56 percent of small business owners use tablets to help run their businesses.) The key is to determine and invest in the right speed for your needs. Too little and you will frustrate customers and lose sales; too much and you’ll waste funds that could be better used elsewhere.
2. What can “the cloud” do for me?
Space age though it may sound, cloud computing is a great option for many small businesses because it reduces costs by minimizing IT and physical storage needs. Currently, 31 percent of business owners operate over half their business in the cloud, while 44 percent use more than two cloud-based tools to manage daily operations, according to findings from Palo Alto Software. Because files and documents are not located in one physical location, saving and accessing information is more easily manageable from different physical locations, and the risk of losing information is reduced thanks to data that is backed up online. Saving time and creating operational efficiency is a priority for all small businesses, and 81 percent of entrepreneurs from the same survey said they’d be willing to pay more for a tool that helps them consolidate data from multiple systems.
3. How do I protect data?
Understandably, online security remains a high priority for small businesses, especially when it comes to protecting customer data. Following the 2014 security breaches at Target, eBay and Home Depot, 31 percent of small businesses worry about customer credit card information being stolen through point-of-sale. And with good reason: More than half of all cybercrime – 60 percent – is directed at small businesses.
As a result, a thoughtful integration of security and cloud computing are quickly becoming the mark of a responsible business owner that wants to create a secure and efficient business.
Over the next three posts, we will delve into the most perplexing questions facing new small business owners detailed above and offer helpful hints to get you up and running smoothly and efficiency.
For more information on how Windstream can help you reach all your small business goals, check out our SMB page here. Also, be sure to keep up with the Small Business Blog for useful advice and inspiration from Windstream and other small business owners from across the country.