A significant concern at the front of every business owner’s mind right now is the fluctuating state of the economy. Between inflation, supply chain interruptions, and the looming possibility of yet another recession, it can be difficult for business leaders to chart the best course of action to keep themselves not just solvent, but thriving and growing in the face of such economic uncertainty.
One way that businesses can make themselves more recession-proof is by having a solid IT structure in place, including software, hardware, security, data storage, and IT experts, to help everything run efficiently and effectively.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Impact of Technology on Small Business survey:
If technology and a solid IT base are the future of recession-proofing, what areas should you focus on for your business? Let’s look at the many ways technology can keep your company ahead of the curve.
Your business relies on the ability to get things done, or else you won’t have many satisfied customers. Here are the technology must-haves to get work done:
It may have been the COVID-19 health crisis that brought video conferencing software to the forefront, but it’s a technology that’s been available for a while. And if you don’t yet have conferencing capabilities, you should! Working remotely with colleagues and clients without the expense of travel, or worst-case scenario, in the instance of another calamity like the pandemic, is priceless. Teleconferencing equipment and software platforms are time-savers and money-savers.
Whether your team works in one building or works across the country or the globe, you need to keep everyone on the same page. Recession brings uncertainty, and not just for business owners. Your employees are impacted. Having an effective workflow platform like Teams, Asana, Monday, or whatever works best for your industry is a terrific way for all your employees to have the workflow and updates at their fingertips when they need them. Shared documents and storage like OneDrive are also great ways to help people collaborate from wherever they are.
Your HR department has a lot of data on its hands. From hiring and keeping employee records, onboarding, training (especially if certifications are involved!), benefits, payroll, and more, you need an HR platform and dashboard to help them keep everything organized. Software as a Service (SaaS) companies like Trainual, Gusto, and Zenefits are some great examples of HR platforms that save time, money, and stress in your HR department. This is especially true if you have a wide-cast work-from-home sector, where people can’t just head to the HR office to ask for documents or report concerns.
Aside from being able to handle all your internal tasks, the front-facing side of your business also requires a solid technological base to be successful. The more you can automate your processes, the more efficient your business can be. Here are some must-haves for getting business done:
User experience, or UX, encompasses how your customers interact with your business, from your website, client portals, and communications channels. When it comes to recession-proofing your business, make sure your clients (and potential clients) know how to reach you. If your website is clunky and outdated or difficult for customers to navigate, they might be compelled to take their business elsewhere. The same goes for client portals, phone support, email and chat systems, and other communication channels. The more channels, the better. People won’t waste their time with ineffective UX, potentially costing you revenue. Investing in a stand-out website and reliable communication systems will alleviate that potential loss of income and boost your bottom line over time.
This is an internal and external way to ensure things get done and that you have satisfied clients. It’s one thing to have a workflow platform and shared internal storage and communications, but another for everyone involved in a transaction to be able to check the status. If you’re a merchant, this means having an always-on status checker in your client portal, so they can look up order statuses and submit any questions or concerns. No matter your business, you can build appropriate processes and portals that allow your employees and clients to access accounts with SaaS platforms like Autotask Client Portal, MyGlue, Shopify, and more.
It’s hard to impress how vital software can be for keeping your employees up-to-date on best practices and teaching them the skills they need to get and stay ahead of the curve in your industry. Here are some training and upskilling technology must-haves, so you can be the best in the business, whatever your business might be:
Whether you have ten employees, 100 employees, or 1000 employees, you need to know what they know and what they don’t. Automated tracking for training, from onboarding through certifications, will make everyone’s life easier and a bit more paperless (which also saves you on physical storage solutions!) Again, SaaS platforms like Zenefits and Trainual can make a huge impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of all your training programs.
Training isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it function of doing business. To keep you and your workforce ahead of the game, you need to perform ongoing training and upskilling to learn new software platforms, stay up-to-date with industry standards, and be sure that everyone is always using best practices. When you have a solid HR dashboard in place, you can easily personalize training and skills analysis for each employee, have a platform for adding feedback, and schedule meetings as necessary to discuss their progress and any concerns.
Studies have shown that a cyberattack happens once every 39 seconds in America, or 2,200 times a day. A recession only increases the risks. Is your business prepared to fend against ransomware, malware, and other data security attacks? If not, then it needs to be. Here are the security must-haves you need to protect your assets:
This is imperative for protecting your business from the fallout of a cyberattack, such as ransomware.
The costs of protection are nothing compared to the costs of recovering from a data breach or lockout.
Your business could suffer from daily loss of revenue, increased legal expenses, and much more, to the tune of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Can your business survive that?
Your employees need training to both avoid and identify cybersecurity incidents. Regular training on password protocols, data breach prevention, and user awareness helps your workforce understand the importance of keeping your and your clients’ data safe. Employees need to recognize the profound implications of not following your in-place cybersecurity measures. Training platforms like Trainual, Cyberhoot, Breach Secure Now, and INFIMA are good examples of SaaS that works to keep your team secure. Employees also need the User Awareness Training to know how to identify and initiate the next MUST-HAVE…
What happens if you DO experience a data breach or cyberattack? You must have a plan in place and have your employees trained on it before you need to use it. An Incident Response Plan is a policy already decided upon and accessible to all employees to help you recognize a cyberattack and handle it swiftly so that you can prevent or mitigate damage.
With all of this technology to keep track of, not to mention the hardware and systems to make it run properly, you need qualified professionals that can do just that. That brings us to the last set of technology must-haves:
Your business deserves the best IT professionals to keep your technology and systems running at peak efficiency. They can help you create and implement long-term IT planning that will keep you ahead of the competition. Where can you find a team like that?
Have you considered an MSP? An MSP, or managed service provider, is a contracted team of professional IT experts who can help you with all your must-have technology needs, from internal systems and software to UX and client communications, training, and cybersecurity. An MSP provides you with the IT solutions you need, while saving you money on an in-house IT team, so if you have budgeting concerns in these challenging times with threat of recession, an MSP might be the way to go. A local MSP can offer your business even more benefits.
If you’re ready to take action and build the technology structure that will help your business survive and thrive in today’s tough economy, get in touch today! IT professionals are here to answer all your questions and help you design a plan to recession-proof your business with real tech solutions.