There’s never been a better time to be a small business owner. Thanks to technological advances, running a business has never been easier, and in some ways, cheaper.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, and there’s always something that can go wrong when you start introducing new technology to repeatable and scalable process (your business). We often see the same few mistakes being made by small businesses over and over again.
If you’re running a small business, check out this list to see if you’re making any of these mistakes -- and what you can do about them.
Not backing up often enough
This one doesn’t ever affect you in business -- until it does. If you’ve ever lost sensitive data, you’ll know there’s this awkward time period where you still hold some kind of hope your important data can still be recovered. Your heart will be beating out of your chest until you find out whether it’s possible or not.
The solution to keep this from happening is simple though -- don’t allow it to. If you’re keeping regular, redundant backups of your data (i.e. having both a physical hard drive backup and at least one cloud service backup), then if something crashes you can simply restore it to its previous state. Better yet, most backup solutions are automatic, so you have no excuse not to back up. Backup software runs in the background and won’t take up your resources, so there’s literally no reason not to be doing this.
Doing social media incorrectly
This applies to people who carelessly update their social media profiles on their own, and to those who hire outsourcing firms that also do it half-heartedly. Neither are good options -- in fact, you you’re probably better off not posting anything to social media than posting things which will lower your brand’s reputation.
One of the biggest problems here is that outsourced firms simply don’t understand your industry, and thus don’t connect well to your target market. If you’re going to focus on social media (you should), then either do it yourself (well) or shell out the cash to someone who knows your industry well enough to keep your brand’s reputation positive.
Letting data exist only in the cloud
This is related to the point about keeping regular backups. When some businesses discover they can make use of the cloud to store all their files, they decide to put absolutely everything in the cloud; which isn’t necessarily a problem unless it’s located ONLY in the cloud.
Several things can go wrong with cloud based hosting services. They can go down temporarily when you need them most. What if that important, time-sensitive document for a client isn’t available for a couple of hours? If it’s only in the cloud, you have no other option. Also, sometimes these services shut down without notice. You can minimize this risk by using only well established cloud-based services, but it’s still a good reason to make sure you have your files also stored locally somewhere.
Not taking security seriously enough
We all want to trust people and believe no one is “out to get us”, but that doesn’t mean you can just let your guard down. If you’re even slightly successful in business, you can bet you have competitors, and not just competitors -- competitors who want to see you fail.
While most probably won’t do anything unscrupulous to cause you to fail, don’t give them the temptation. Make sure all your accounts, computers and data are secured with passwords, and any other forms of authorization that makes sense for you to protect. If someone is able to breach your system without too much effort, then it’s your fault for not planning to protect yourself against such an attack on your business.
Understanding new technology in small business can be confusing, but with a little effort, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, most new technologies make running a business incredibly more efficient, as long as you watch out for common mistakes made by small businesses.
Dana Lindahl is a writer who specializes in content marketing for startups. His writing helps companies not only reach their customers but also drive sales.