April 21, 2023
Pardon the serious Gen-X vibe, but we’ve been saying it since 1973: achieving big or complex business goals is so much simpler when you’re using the right tools for the job.
Best-in-class tools weren’t always accessible for small to midsize businesses (SMBs), but cloud solutions are starting to even the playing field. If you haven’t updated your technology in the past five years, you might be surprised at how much easier your life — and the lives of your IT staff — could be.
Common Signs Your Small Business Needs a Technology Upgrade
Not all business technology is created equal, and every business is different. That said, there are some tell-tale signs that your tech stack needs an upgrade.
1. You’re Not Sure You Could Handle Growth
You’d love to have more customers. But could your staff provide the same level of service, if not better, with your current tools? If your staff still relies on Post-its, email, and spreadsheets to manage projects, the likely answer is no. Better tools exist today to help you automate your processes and make sure nothing gets missed.
2. You’re Worried About a Data Breach, or You’ve Already Had One
There are a few persistent myths out there when it comes to cybersecurity that don’t do SMBs any favors. The first is that hackers are brilliant criminal masterminds, and there’s no keeping them out. The second myth, which may do even more harm, is that your business is too small to attract a cybercriminal’s attention.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but hackers actually prefer to target SMBs because they often have lax cybersecurity policies and tools. And since attacks can be carried out quickly, a series of smaller attacks can really pay off.
If you store sensitive data, outdated technology can put you at risk for a data breach and other common cybersecurity threats. Fortunately, cybersecurity is kind of like securing your home. You don’t have to be Fort Knox to discourage a criminal — following basic cybersecurity best practices is enough to prevent most attacks, and security awareness training goes a surprisingly long way. In fact, 95% of all data breaches occur as a result of human error, like clicking on dangerous links and falling for email scams.
Want a cheat sheet on cybersecurity best practices for SMBs? We’ve got you. Get your SMB Cybersecurity Checklist here.
3. Your Energy Bills Keep Going Up
Sure, rates have gone up, but your usage should also have gone down as newer devices are far more energy efficient. This is probably not the biggest reason to consider an upgrade, but it is one sign that new and better tools are out there.
4. Your Repair and Maintenance Bills Are Also Up
As your devices age, components and repair parts may become more expensive and harder to come by, and so are the technicians who know how to work with them. At some point, you’re throwing good money after bad. Outdated printers are a common budget drain, and so are Plain Old Telephone Systems (POTS) lines.
5. You’ve Got a Downtime Problem
Old technology doesn’t perform as reliably, and downtime is expensive. The cost of just one minute of downtime for a small business is estimated at $137 – $427; for an enterprise-scale business, that same minute can cost over $16,000. That’s bad enough, but keep in mind that those numbers don’t account for dissatisfied customers or employee turnover, which are the byproducts of frequent downtime.
6. You’ve Got…Wait for It…Lag
If you’re like most businesses, you’re using more cloud solutions. But if you haven’t updated your network for cloud apps, you might experience frequent lag. Old software and equipment are also common causes of lag, which can be especially frustrating for employees.
7. Your Decisions Are Based on Trial and Error
Data analytics tools can help you understand the factors that transform a one-time customer into a lifetime one, and can simplify business decision-making. If you find yourself wondering how your competitors are always beating you to the punch, their secret may very well be better tools.
8. Your Staff Doesn’t Use Your Conference Room
Before the pandemic, your staff used your conference room and your AV equipment to help you win business and more. But now, they’re back to holding meetings on individual computers over Zoom because it’s easier to see everyone, no matter where they are. But then…what’s the point of coming back to the office?
Modern A/V equipment can handle in-person and remote attendees, make presenting extremely easy, and can even feature an individual speaker instead of the whole room. What’s more, if you’ve been operating without a receptionist, your AV equipment can also let you know if there’s someone in your lobby, so you won’t miss an important delivery or worse, risk a potential security issue.
9. Your Staff Doesn’t Spend the Majority of Their Time on What Actually Drives ROI
How is your staff spending their time? Could one tool allow them to accomplish more in less time and reduce errors in the process? Not only does older technology tend to be slower, it often requires more repetitive, boring tasks — like data entry. Just one upgrade might help you dramatically increase productivity and job satisfaction at the same time.
10. Nothing Works Together
Perhaps you’ve replaced a tool or two, and now there are compatibility issues. Software developers understand that the better their platforms play nicely with others, the more value they offer users. While it’s difficult to imagine a business that doesn’t have any financial constraints, it may be worth it to upgrade more solutions at once to get a system that allows your staff to work smarter.
Expert Help for Small Business Technology Planning
If some of the signs we outlined above hit a bit close to home, you might be wondering which upgrades you should make ASAP and which can wait. It also might be helpful to know what solutions tend to work well for other organizations in your industry.
And this might be going out on a limb, but wouldn’t it be great if all of this information could be presented simply and concisely so technical and non-technical folks could understand it and get on the same page for once?
That’s basically what you get with a Marco Technology Assessment, plus a technology roadmap that outlines all of our recommendations for the next five years. What you do with that information is completely up to you, but you’ll get no-nonsense feedback from world-class experts and recommendations that are completely customized for your business goals and how you and your staff work best.
Sound good? Click below to start the conversation!