A new year is a great time to reflect on the past 12 months and create goals for the year ahead. This is especially important for small businesses, which have been so dramatically affected by the pandemic. As with many disruptive events, the pandemic has provided many lessons for small businesses to pull from.
We’ve narrowed it down to five resolutions small businesses should consider as you take on 2022.
1. Accelerate Innovation Whenever Possible
As COVID upended operations and sent companies of all sizes and all industries into chaos, it also revealed that innovation doesn’t always require a big budget, massive resources, or years to implement.
Small businesses had to embrace and accelerate innovation in order to survive. Many of us thought remote work and digital transformation were still a few years away and would come on gradually, but COVID quickly proved that notion wrong. We also learned that companies could pivot to remote workforces and online business models almost instantaneously. All it took was a crisis to show many small businesses that they are indeed capable of innovating quickly and cost-effectively.
As you journey into 2022, don’t overlook additional opportunities to accelerate innovation within your organization.
2. Embrace Change – Even in Your Technology
It can be hard to make meaningful change (hello, New Year’s resolutions), especially when that comes with a price tag. For small businesses, one of the priciest changes is most often with their technology solutions. Why fix something that’s not really broken?
With cloud-based services, managed networks, WiFi access, video conferencing, virtual desktops and more, small businesses discovered the benefits of new technology in the past 18 months. Benefits like keeping employees productive, collaborating, secure, and engaged — while also supporting a strong customer experience. These services even proved to be manageable in-house, reducing the need for external IT.
In 2022, keep an eye out for ways to further embrace change. This can be as simple as adopting a new conferencing solution or an end-to-end security platform.
3. Focus on the (Hybrid) Future
It’s important to remember that the work model changes imposed on us all over the last year and a half are likely here to stay. That means we still have some growing to do to transition from a fully remote to a hybrid work environment.
You might still have on-premises tech that was used to support your predominantly in-person workplace, plus whatever new technology your team embraced as you went remote. Video calls, remote file access and offsite employees are here to stay, which means your IT needs to work in a whole new way. It’s worth evaluating your current set up so you can efficiently and securely accommodate this new working model in 2022 and beyond.
4. Make the Move to Cloud-based Solutions
Pre-pandemic, the shift to cloud-based solutions was progressing slowly, with most small businesses still employing on-premises IT – servers, networks, desktop computers, and more. Cloud-based IT took off over the past year when businesses learned they could seamlessly move their technology, critical applications, and data off-premises and into the cloud.
This enabled employers to grant remote workers access to virtual desktops and applications from anywhere, with all the data and tools they need to remain productive and engaged. It also allowed businesses to reduce IT requirements, as well as costs (and headaches) in the process.
In 2022, cloud-delivered solutions and software-as-a-service (SaaS) will continue to deliver high value and enable small businesses to accelerate innovation and scale as needed. It’s like getting two resolutions in one.
5. Repeat: Security, security, SECURITY!
Pre-COVID, many small businesses may have felt a false sense of security, thinking themselves too small for hackers to hassle with. But the truth is – hackers don’t care how small your business is, they care about how weak your security is. So if you thought you were flying under their radar, think again.
Cybersecurity attacks can be devastating, and hackers seized the opportunity when businesses had employees began working from different locations and sometimes on personal devices. The good news is that, with cloud-based solutions, it’s now easier and more affordable than ever to safeguard your data, devices, and business from attacks like these.
If you only resolve to do one thing as a small business in 2022, we highly encourage you to rethink your cybersecurity solutions. A powerful, yet simple, security approach can help protect your entire business – from your email to your network to your endpoints.
New Year, New Technology
With the new year in full swing, now is a good time to evaluate your current technology and see what, if anything, needs to be adjusted. Some questions to ask yourself:
- Are my technology environment and equipment ready to meet the moment and react to future crises?
- Do we have a flexible infrastructure than can easily adapt to change?
- Will our network bandwidth scale to meet the demands of an office full of people and days when most are working from home?
- Are we adequately protecting our people and their data?
- Will we continue collaborating through video conferencing or offering services and products online?
For some additional insights on these questions, check out recent episodes of the Cisco Designed “Small Business, Big Solutions” podcast to take a deeper dive into these topics and more.
We’re ready to help you meet your business goals for 2022 by connecting you to with simple, secure, and scalable solutions that support and accelerate your digital transformation. Contact our sales team to learn more about our solutions for networking, security, and collaboration, including how you can get a one-on-demo of any of our small business products.