By Leslie Youngblood
Real talk: Owning, managing and running a business is tough.
According to the Small Business Administration, over 30 percent of entrepreneurs are operating independently as their business’s sole employee, and over 40 percent have between just two and five employees.
While it’s good to run lean, these owners may find themselves struggling to keep up. Fortunately, if you find yourself in this scenario, there are a number of simple things you can do and tools you can use that will help immensely. Especially in today’s day and age, every small business owner and entrepreneur should take advantage of modern apps, services and technology.
Here’s a quick list of the three upgrades your business needs to survive in our modern economy.
1. You need to get cyber-secure
Cybersecurity isn’t just a hot topic buzzword. It’s massively important.
Small businesses are frequently the targets of cyber attacks. Yet 90 percent of small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. do not use data protection for company and customer information, and less than half of SMBs are securing company email to prevent phishing scams, according to McAfee.
Maybe you think it can’t happen to you. But why take the chance and wait until it’s too late?
More likely, you feel as though you can’t afford to hire a cybersecurity agency specifically right now. That’s okay because there are things you can do right now, at minimal cost, to protect yourself and your business:
Use password protection and multi-factor authentication
There are many software solutions out there that will block malware, viruses, spyware, ransomware and more.
Back-up your data.
You can find an external hard drive at your local supermarket. Grab one on your next visit and back up at your next chance.
2. Make sure you’re mobile
If your website isn’t mobile optimized by now, what are you doing? Really though, I don’t want to get too stern with you, but it’s 2018. As of February 2017, mobile devices accounted for 49.7 percent of web page views worldwide. That was over one year ago even. Imagine how the numbers have risen since then.
That statistic tells you that half of the people visiting your site are on their phones. Whether they’re finding you through a maps search or on Google while out and about, it makes sense to make sure your website looks and functions well for mobile devices.
The definition of mobile optimization is the ability for someone to read your site without having to zoom or pinch their screen. Think about a website you’ve visited where you can’t find the menu or you have to slide the screen over to view different images and content. Annoying right? Don't be that guy for your customers.
Beyond just having the print be large and legible, mobile optimized also means that your website can load in three seconds or less.
3. Sleek up your workspace
Updating your tech not only makes it easier to get work done, it’s also fun! A shiny new laptop or accessorie adds a little pep into your daily activities.
Amazing new products are always coming out too. Recently there was an Indiegogo campaign launched for a product called The Perfected Keyboard. The company who created it, Truly Ergonomic, claims it’s the most comfortable keyboard you’ll ever use. If you’re a full-time writer or have a business where you’re on your computer the majority of the time, this might be a valuable investment.
Dell, a computer and tech powerhouse has an extensive collection of mice, laptops, desktops, workstations and more including their snazzy Vostro series. Those laptops are specifically built for small business owners and to help make you more productive.
So there you go, the three upgrades your business needs to thrive. There are endless more of course, but I suggest starting with these easier to implement basics. Start with one that you can accomplish within the next month, then build on that moving forward. And keep me posted on how it all goes.
Leslie Youngblood is the Creative Director for Excelerate America, the ultimate resource for entrepreneurs. She'd love to hear your thoughts on simple upgrades for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Shoot her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.