The outbreak of COVID-19 has heavily impacted our economy and small businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Creating a strategic business plan and investing in the right technologies can help prepare your business for the future. Here are four technologies to consider investing in to assist your business as we move toward the road to recovery.
Confidential information is at risk of being compromised now more than ever, making it essential to have the infrastructure in place to protect the data of your customers and business. The reality is every business is at risk of a data breach. Small businesses with only a handful of customers are less likely to invest in sufficient security measures, putting them at a higher risk of becoming a target for criminals. To reduce the likelihood of a cyberattack, there are solutions that can be easily applied, including setting up a strong firewall, installing antivirus protection, ensuring operating systems and applications are updated regularly, securing devices including laptops and mobile phones, creating strong passwords, and educating employees on how to take a proactive approach to maintaining security. The FCC provides valuable information on creating cybersecurity plans as well as links to free and low-cost security tools.
Customers are your most valuable asset and retaining them is critical to the strength and stability of your business. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software makes it easier to discover valuable behavioral information about customers in order to develop outreach and retention strategies based on proven data. A CRM solution gathers and centralizes data not only to maintain your customer relationships, but also to build stronger ones to help improve client service. There are various CRM software options that suit the goals and demands of businesses of all sizes.
Innovative Payment Options
Cash may be king, but many businesses are offering a variety of digital payment options in an effort to help boost company sales. Many have taken it one step further by also accepting transactions through PayPal®, Apple Pay®, Android Pay™, and more. They may offer capabilities to easily accept recurring payments automatically, streamline data collection, and boost payment fraud protection. Lakeland’s merchant services includes simplified payment processing solutions, such as online and mobile payments, processes to ensure payments are secure, reporting tools to help manage your business and more. As beneficial as digital payment technology is to customers, these services make it even easier and more secure for businesses to pay their suppliers or vendors. With many payment options available, there are choices that will fit the requirements and budget of any business.
A business’ website is its digital front door - it is the only corner of the internet that it fully owns and controls. While it’s valuable to have an accessible space to exhibit information or process sales, having an optimized website makes the business more competitive in the battle for a prominent presence in online searches. After all, the more likely a company is to appear on Google®, the more likely it is to illicit new traffic to their site.
There are several strategies that are important in order to maintain an optimized website. First, it should be noted that keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. Search engines actually favor websites that clearly present content that is easy and enjoyable for the intended audience to read and navigate. More simply put, content should be conversational with naturally occurring keywords. Second, take note that voice search technology is becoming increasingly popular. “Hey, Siri” questions are asked around the clock, making it important to strategically position your website to be the answer. Lastly, websites need to be appealing and easy to navigate on mobile devices. If a user visits your site and struggles to quickly find what they are looking for, they will likely move on, resulting in a lost sale.
As your business looks ahead, it may be intimidating to introduce new convenient technologies, especially during tough financial times, but rest assured, the outcome is worth it. It's important to understand that not every change needs to happen overnight – nor should it. Establishing new advancements will prove more beneficial when executed strategically and cautiously. Start small and slow, and never allow the fear of flourishing technology stifle the growth of your business.