Common Technology Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Running a small business can be tough. You have to watch out for your competition and stay relevant in today’s ever-changing economy. Technology is increasingly becoming more and more a part of business operations. You may have to swiftly incorporate new technologies. You are inundated with the task of running your small business, eliminating any extra time it may take researching these new technologies and how to properly implement them. Because of this, your small business is prone to making some technological errors. Here are some common mistakes that your small business can avoid.

Insufficient Digital Security

This is a major mistake that can cost you a lot in the long term. Not having sufficient digital security puts your small business at risk for hackers and cybercriminals that can steal sensitive information and potentially hold it for ransom. Not only can this cost you money, but it can also cost your business its reputation among customers, clients and company partners. Luckily there is a way to remedy this. By using IT consulting for small businesses, you can better protect your company and its sensitive information.

Using Technology That Is Outdated

Using outdated technology is a surefire way to reduce productivity and welcome costly IT issues. It is important for your small business to stay up to date on the latest hardware technology as it will help reduce costs in the long run. Keeping a PC longer than its normal lifecycle of three to four years could result in you spending more on repairs and IT support than on a new system.

Not Backing Up Data

Backing up data is a major key. Many companies store their data electronically, which is fine, but what happens when that also becomes compromised and lost? This is why having a physical hard drive or cloud-based back up of files is so important. You can do it manually or you can implement a backup program that backs up your files automatically.

Not Utilizing Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of a lot of people’s lives, including those of your customers, clients and company partners. Stop avoiding it. Use social media. It is the best place for marketing strategies and brand exposure. It is also an excellent place to connect with your customers and clients on a personal level. They see your company as less as a brick-and-mortar place and more as a company run by people.

Inadequate Basic Technology Training

It’s estimated that office staff understands less than 20 percent of the available features in the software application they use, according to Tech Republic. Your employees do not have to be tech whizzes, but having sufficient technology training can prevent your small business from falling prey to cyber-attacks. It could also be very costly to constantly call on your IT support for simple technology problems. Your employees knowing more about the things their software can do can improve productivity and is more cost-effective in the long-run.

Addressing The Question Of How You Get Paid As A Freelancer

When you first start running a business from the home or for yourself, then you’re going to be faced with all sorts of little challenges. One of those that can make some freelancers surprisingly awkward is the question of how you get paid. Here, we’re going to look at how to set up a payment system that works for you and how to get over any of the doubts standing between you and the money you’re owed.

Setting your rates

First of all, you need to make sure that you can’t be negotiated at any price that fits the client. To make sure that your work is always worth doing, you must set a fixed price (or price range) that you’re willing to offer. For selling products, this is slightly easier. You might have a harder time figuring out how much to sell your services for, but there are sites that can help you find average rates, and, from there, you can decide whether your services are above average and by how much.

 

Detail precisely how you will get paid

To make sure that there’s pussyfooting around with the bill and that you’re not constantly waiting for money that you’re owed, you need to standardize your method of getting paid from the start. Some freelancers are satisfied to wait for a little with an invoice system. Meanwhile, you might use a virtual point of sale or prefer to start work only after a PayPal payment has come through. There are advantages to each method to consider. What’s important is that you’re very clear with clients and customers how they must pay from the start.

 

Don’t feel bad about chasing up what you’re owed

If you use a system such as invoicing, or you let your clients and customers pay after the service/product is delivered online, then you should anticipate that some will be late in paying. To prevent this, you can set a date in which they have to pay and start charging them late fees if they fail to. Invoice processing software can help give you reminders of when you should start going after them, too. Some people will have genuine and good reasons to be a little late and you can forgive late fees at your discretion, but don’t feel bad about reaching out to ask for late payment.

 

Get it in writing

How common is it that a client will decline to pay entirely, even arguing that they don’t have to? Not very often, but it can be such a stressful event that you wouldn’t want it to ever happen to you more than once. As such, if you’re delivering services that your client pays for after the fact, make sure they sign a contract that outlines what they can expect and what they have to pay. If they don’t sign it, don’t do the work.

It can feel a little awkward, at the start, to ask people directly to pay you money. However, it’s a feeling you will get used to and you need to defend your right to get paid for all work you do fervently. Formalizing and standardizing the process will help that.

Is Your Business Protected From Power Failures?

Your IT systems are a vital part of your business and you cannot operate without them, which is why it’s so important that you protect yourself against online attacks. Most business owners know this and they invest a good amount of time and money in their cybersecurity. However, cyber attacks are not the only potential danger to your IT systems. Power failures can cause technology downtime and, in some cases, loss of information and damage to equipment. Many business owners don’t consider the potential danger of power outages and they don’t take the necessary steps to prevent damage. However, there are some simple things that you can do to protect your business from power failures.

Always Take Out Insurance

In the event of a power outage, there is a chance that equipment can be damaged and you will have to foot the bill for replacing it. You will already experience loss of earnings during a power outage, so having to pay to replace equipment on top of that can lead to some serious financial issues. However, you can relieve that financial burden if you take out the right insurance. Check your policy and ensure that you are covered for any damage caused by a power outage because not all policies will offer that coverage.

Put Backup Power In Place

When a power outage occurs, it’s important that you get things up and running again as soon as possible.  The longer your systems are down, the more money you will lose, which is why it’s so important that you have backup power in place. If you install a petrol or oil generator, you can get things back online right away. However, it’s important that you ensure that your generator is safe and you have oil stop valves (click to see more about these) to stop oil leaking out and damaging the environment. In the event of a power outage, you never know how long it will be before the power is back on, so it’s important that you have your own backup power to rely on.

Backup Your Data

If a power outage affects your servers and information is wiped, that can cause a lot of problems for your business, especially if you lose customer data. It can take a long time to come back from a significant data loss, and the financial impact on your business will be huge. That’s why it’s so important that you backup all of your data properly. If you invest in cloud storage, you have a secure backup of your data, and it also makes it easier for employees to access any information that they need.

Have A Disaster Recovery Plan In Place

Once you have your insurance, your backup power is in place and all data is backed up, you need to come up with a disaster recovery plan so everybody knows exactly how to react in a crisis. Your first priority should be getting the backup power online and securing data. Then you need to assess the damage and start making insurance claims to replace anything that is broken. As long as you have a clear plan in place, you can deal with power outages efficiently and avoid any big losses.