4 Specific Ways Small Businesses Can Modernize

Just because your business is small, doesn’t mean it has to remain stuck in the past. New technology can seem scary, but you can modernize at a very scalable pace and cost-effective rate.

Modern office

Move Forward or Get Left Behind

As business strategist Mark Troester says, “Change is constant in business today. As those changes become increasingly complex and challenging, legacy frameworks hold you back.”

Is your business littered with legacy frameworks? Are you still using yesterday’s technology, simply because it’s comfortable?

You have to move forward, or you’re going to get left behind. There aren’t any exceptions. In terms of technology, here are some specific ways you can modernize your business and be competitive tomorrow:

1. Cloud Storage

If you haven’t already moved to the cloud, you’re on the verge of becoming obsolete. Whatever’s been holding you back, it’s time to buckle down and make the transition.

“If you don’t feel confident making a migration from a local server that’s in your office to a cloud-based solution, find a vendor that you can trust,” advises Tim Chaves, founder of ZipBooks. “A good way to evaluate a vendor is getting a recommendation from another business owner that you know and trust. Once you’re there, ask for a detailed bid — you’re less likely to run into surprise costs.”

It’s also important that you pay attention to security. While the cloud is inherently safer, you can expose yourself to certain risks if you don’t handle the migration in the correct manner. Simple things like password integrity are vitally important.

2. Hosted VoIP Phone Services

Antiquated phones might not seem like a huge deal, but an outdated system is holding you back more than you realize. If nothing else, it’s preventing you from being as efficient and scalable as you should be. A move to hosted voice over internet protocol (VoIP) can change all of that.

“With Hosted VoIP, businesses can add phones when and where they need them,” explains Mark Greim of sipVine. “Businesses do not have to overbuild a phone system to accommodate growth, but only add phones as they grow. Also, because they are connected to a cloud based system and not a system housed in their office, they are able to deploy phones wherever they need.”

3. Custom API’s for Legacy Systems

Businesses often avoid modernizing in certain areas because they feel they don’t have the ability to do it in-house. At the very least, they doubt they can do it cost-effectively. But there are ways to get around this.

If you find there’s a certain task you need to accomplish, but that you can’t find a tool in your current system to handle it, try incorporating custom APIs. They have a way of adding functionality to legacy systems without having to reinvent everything. Whether it’s sales, marketing, accounting, invoicing, or even project management – there are APIs out there that may be able to assist you. Find them and use them.

4. Proactive Cyber Security

According to the 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study, the global average cost of a data breach is $3.6 million, or roughly $141 per data record. In other words, it’s a big deal.

As you modernize, proactive cyber security becomes increasingly important. Whether you’ve been targeted by hackers in the past or not is of no consequence. What matters is that you get ahead of the game so that you don’t become the next statistic.

Invest in the right preventative measures, but don’t stop there. You need a detailed response plan that allows you to step in and limit the damage when/if an attack occurs. Often, this is more critical than the initial attack itself.

Working with high-end laptop and desktop

Usher in the New Age of Business

It’s not just your technology that you need to be modernizing. In order to set your business up for long-term success, you have to optimize your thinking.

“A modernized, holistic solution needs to reflect agile best practices and innovative thinking,” Troester notes. “It’s just as crucial to adopt an innovative mindset internally with your workers and what they’re trying to accomplish. You must socialize that mindset and collaborate in order to reengineer business strategies and solutions to reflect current changes and customer needs.”

As you make changes to your technology and way of thinking, modernization will happen. The concept is simple – it’s the execution that’s a challenge.