We talk quite a bit about preparing for crises – both professionally and personally. We set aside rainy-day funds, develop disaster recovery plans, get insurance. But even the best laid plans can sometimes go awry. *Looks back pointedly at the past two years.*
While we don’t have control over what life brings us, we can control how we react when adversity rears its head. As small businesses, the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances can mean the difference between sinking or swimming when disaster strikes. And few things can help differentiate small businesses’ resiliency and ability to adapt and recover than the right technology.
Technology – The Great Differentiator
If it wasn’t apparent prior, COVID made it abundantly clear just how critical a role technology plays in the day-to-day operations for small businesses. At the onset of the pandemic, the right video conferencing, team collaboration, and cybersecurity tools made it even easier for small businesses to shift – practically overnight – to remote work. The same solutions that make office work a breeze made working from kitchen tables and guest bedrooms easy, too.
Now that you have that technology in place, it can help you prepare for the next “what if” and even grow with you as your company’s needs shift. Whether you’re in manufacturing, finance, or retail, the investment in technology can distance you from the competition, keep customers happy, and diminish downtime.
Turning Obstacles into Opportunity
The integration of communication and collaboration technologies in businesses of all kinds has been on the rise for years. In March 2020, most businesses were pushed to further adopt these technologies, relying on them – and the resiliency of their employees – to operate successfully.
The good news is that this plunge into the world of cloud collaboration and accelerated digital transformation has set businesses up for future success. Small businesses have been rewarded with new ways and places to work and are eyeing opportunities they never imagined. Organizations can now broaden their talent markets because employees can work from anywhere.
This shift had a positive effect on cost structures, too. Maybe you’ve been able to reduce your office footprint or even eliminate a physical office – and a monthly lease payment – altogether. Plus, with a shift to cloud-based subscription models, you no longer have to make big investments in hardware and software upfront. The list – and savings – go on.
What the Future Holds for Small Businesses
The technology evolution over the last few months has raised additional discussions about what the future holds for small businesses. There’s evidence that the next wave of transformation will be among people and teams now that we’ve settled into a new way of operating. For instance, keeping remote teams engaged, motivated, and passionate about their work is a priority. Many people thrive on human interaction, so it’s critical to find ways to maintain the personal connections between leaders and their teams. The answer could be as simple as casual web meetings with no real agenda, similar to a quick water cooler chat.
Just as important – and often overlooked – is security. Every device, communication, and network present an opportunity for cyberattack. And with businesses more diverse than ever, hackers have been busier and more successful in infiltrating small businesses.
It’s essential that you secure your business with a multilayered security solution, especially with so much remote work happening over public WiFi networks. The good news is that you can now access top-of-the-line cloud-based security. With Cisco Secure solutions, you get full protection for all users, devices, and communications, keeping your entire business safe with a powerful, yet simple, security approach.
Let Cisco Help You Prepare
In the rush to keep your business running, you might have adopted separate technologies for a variety of remote settings that aren’t secure, scalable, reliable, or intuitive. Now is the ideal time to take a look at solutions to ensure you’re meeting your current and future needs. The full range of Cisco Designed offerings can help support evolving work environments in a simpler, more secure way. With the right partner who can help you assess your needs, as well as set up and manage your solutions, your business can keep moving forward no matter what goes on in the world around you.
For more on this topic, listen in as technology leaders with Cisco Partner CDW join the “Small Business, Big Solutions” podcast for second installment of our two-part conversation on how small businesses responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, available now on Soundcloud and other podcast platforms.
Want to talk through your technology needs with a small business specialist? Contact our team.