By: Jacob Chacko, Regional Director - Middle East, Saudi & South Africa at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Alongside immediate concerns of the short term, small businesses also need to keep their eye on the longer-term changes coming down the pipeline this year. Customer demands are changing. Employee expectations are evolving. The ever-present threat of cybercrime. These are all front of mind for business leaders as we head into the new decade.
Hindsight has taught us that, to succeed in an era driven by technology, businesses need to be increasingly agile in order to constantly reinvent themselves. Luckily, agility is something small businesses have in abundance. However, agility alone isn’t enough, small businesses also need the right technology in place – both to improve the digital experience for both employees and customers and to keep data safe.
During 2022, small businesses need foresight into what they should be prioritising. If you’re a small business owner, here are some considerations to ensure your success:
1. Go back to basics
Delivering the best customer experience is key to small business success in 2022. Your Wi-Fi can be a great asset to help – it’s more than just email access!
The past decade has taught us that customers no longer base their loyalty on price or product quality alone. Instead, they choose to purchase products or services from companies based on the experience they receive. Put simply, keep up with your customers changing demands and secure their loyalty.
With the right network in place, you can focus on improving the customer experience by delivering a consistent, seamless and personalised experience that caters to individual tastes and wants. For example, in retail, once you’ve implemented a secure and scalable network, you can digitise your in-store experience creating a better customer experience and repeat visits.
Start by getting back to basics. Evaluate your networking requirements, either by yourself or with a trusted supplier, and then implement a solution you can rely on.
The best type of small business network solution is one that is simple to set up and reliable enough to work without needing a dedicated IT team. It also needs to go beyond what you might find in a home Wi-Fi network – both your security and user needs are very different in a business environment.
As small businesses continue along their digital transformation journeys, having a wireless network that is consistent and seamless, no matter how many devices are connected is essential.
2. Don’t compromise on security
Small businesses typically consider themselves to be unlikely targets, but they could be deliberately sought out if attackers perceive they lack built-in security in their networks. Or, the odds may just fall against them if they are caught in a widespread attack.
If you’re a small business owner and you want to remain competitive in 2022, up the cybersecurity ante. To do this you need a simple to use, enterprise-grade network, with foundational security built-in to protect against common threats. You simply cannot compromise by using a network designed for homes. An enterprise-grade network segments the network to add an extra layer of security and leverages advanced technology to better understand the devices and behaviours happening on the network.
This not only limits access points for hackers, but it also improves overall performance for users. For example, one portion of the network could be confined to administrative work, while another could prioritise guest access. This ensures that guest traffic stays separate to business-critical traffic or payments.
3. Connected employees equal productive employees
In addition to protecting your business, a safe and secure network keeps employees, visiting clients and customers connected and productive. This is important because today’s employees don’t only want a salary increase or a promotion, they want to feel happy and productive at work. Employees want to feel like their work is meaningful and that they’re contributing to the success of the company. They want devices that instantly connect and perform flawlessly, whether they’re ringing up sales, taking inventory or running payroll.
With the growing trend of flexible working and the gig economy, employees also expect to be able to log on to the internet swiftly and securely. No matter where they are. Giving employees the freedom to work anywhere, anytime is key to small business success in 2022.
It’s clear that this year and beyond will present both opportunities and challenges for small businesses. But meeting customer and employee expectations while keeping your business safe don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You need simple, secure and reliable Wi-Fi and, if you want to stay competitive, you can’t afford to settle for anything less.