(BPT) - Entrepreneurs love a challenge. But when starting a small business, there's one challenge that can prove especially difficult: technology. Savvy business owners know they need the right technology to compete in today's market. But the price can be prohibitive, and many business owners just aren't familiar with all the different infrastructure, systems and software they need to be successful. Thankfully, having deep pockets isn't the only solution to your tech problems. Here are some of the most common technology challenges small businesses face and how you can overcome them.
Poor data organization
Data is now the lifeblood of any business. But small business owners often fail to take advantage of all the valuable data at their fingertips. They may have issues with how they collect and store data, or they may lack the tools to analyze and make sense of data. In either case, it's a problem. But by upgrading your data storage systems, you can use data to craft better sales strategies, improve customer relations and maximize profitability.
If data storage and databases feel like a foreign language, consider partnering with a technology expert. Dell Small Business advisors can help you audit your system and identify opportunities for improvements, so you always get the most out of your technology assets.
When building a technology environment, you want to integrate your systems so that everything works together in harmony. Unfortunately, this is often a major challenge for small businesses. The reason is that cash-strapped companies often purchase system upgrades piecemeal when the funds become available. This disjointed buying process can prevent systems from working together properly, creating redundant data entry and visibility gaps that hinder your operations.
For example, if your sales software doesn't integrate with your inventory systems, you could be missing an opportunity to improve sales strategies, cash flow and inventory management. Simply aligning these two systems could enhance multiple areas of your business.
To avoid these problems, try to maintain continuity with your vendors when upgrading systems. This will help ensure that everything continues to work together as your technology matures.
Many small business owners think, 'Data breaches only happen to major corporations, not small businesses, right?' Wrong. In fact, 58% of data breaches occur at small businesses, according to a report from Verizon. To protect your business, you need to have robust cybersecurity systems in place. You can improve your cybersecurity by implementing firewalls, monitoring and other security systems. Just be sure those systems are always updated to the latest version so you're protected against the newest cybersecurity threats.
Not enough training
If you're implementing new software, you need to give your employees adequate training time. Business owners often think that because their teams are small and employees will be using the software frequently, they'll naturally become experts. But smaller operations often need more training, not less, because there are fewer support resources when issues arise. This can cause frustration for employees and it ultimately means you're not getting maximum value from your new technology. To avoid these problems, consider investing in a professional training session when implementing new software.
Lack of system maintenance
While most cloud-based systems are regularly updated by the software developer, you can't assume your technology is on autopilot. Like any other piece of equipment, your technology needs regular maintenance to perform its best and avoid major issues. Consider partnering with a managed services firm to continually monitor and maintain your systems for maximum performance.
Technology should be an asset, not a barrier. By avoiding these common problems and leveraging your technology resources effectively, you can increase efficiency and drive results for your small business.