Small businesses can get away with a lot of things that big businesses can’t. But that doesn’t mean that everything is different. It is largely a matter of scale. Here are a few examples that illustrate the point:
- Small businesses need telephones, but not necessarily a PBX system.
- Small businesses need computers, but not necessarily servers.
- Small businesses need analytics, but not necessarily BI software.
The small business owner has quite a bit of time before having to worry about enterprise-sized challenges. But that doesn’t mean they have no challenges of their own.
There are a lot of little things that a small business cannot do without. All too often, they get overlooked. Here are a few of those small things that can make a big difference for your small business:
If you run a small business that relies on being mobile, you need a VPN. A VPN is a virtual private network. If you are not sure what that is, try thinking of it as a mobile version of the network larger companies have on premises. You log into their intranet to get access to files and other local connections.
A VPN gives you private access to your personal files and connections wherever they happen to be in the world. Once you enter your VPN, it is very hard for others to trace your activities from there.
Leading VPNs such as TorGuard give you access to the internet in your home country when you are away on business. This is crucial if you are visiting a place that restricts search activity. You will also have access to services like your regional iTunes and App Store.
Most importantly, it will be very difficult for hackers to invade your activity while you are out and about, unlike when you use public networks. Your small business cannot afford to be without a reliable VPN.
Copy, Scan, and Fax
It is one thing to try and go paperless at home. It is quite another to try it with your small business. You simply cannot run a small business without some type of paper-handling system.
The workplace is still a paperwork place. It will continue to be that way into the foreseeable future. There will always be contracts with venders, things you get in email that the law requires you to print and sign. Some companies require documents to be faxed rather than sent digitally. Like it or not, it is paper all the way down.
The single biggest mistake small businesses make is they assume only large companies need to worry about strong security. There are many reasons small businesses need cyber security:
- The password a small business customer uses for that site is probably the same one they use for their bank. Hackers know it is easier to get it from the small business.
- Small businesses are collecting as much data as big companies, often the exact same data.
- Small businesses often do not realize the value of the data they are holding. Hackers do.
- When large companies are breached, they likely have the resources to deal with it. Small businesses often don’t.
This is one area where the problem and solution is the same regardless of what size business you manage.
The Ability to Take All Forms of Payment
Small business owners know how to work. But they often don’t know how to get paid. The best way to get paid by other professionals is with quality invoicing software. For consumers, you have to make it as easy and convenient as possible for them to give you money, especially for those in the moment decisions.
The worst thing you can do to a potential customer is tell them you don’t accept their form of money. Even vending machines accept Apple Pay. You need to be prepared to take any form of legal currency with which a person is willing to part.
Small businesses that eventually grow into big businesses did so by mastering the little things. Among those are VPN, paper handling, strong security, and the ability to take all forms of payment. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of time to talk cloud infrastructure.