5 common small business headaches!
November 2nd 2015, By Alex Kidman
Big businesses employ dedicated teams to handle all kinds of business problems, but as a small business you don’t have the budget to cover that kind of head count. Instead, what you’ve often got are niggly little problems that need solving, and no idea where to start.
Here are solutions for five common small business problems.
1. Who has time to back up?
You’re small, and you’re busy, so who has time to back up, right? Wrong! If your business data sits on just one system — whether it’s your personal laptop or an employee’s desktop or tablet — then it’s just a matter of time until it fails.
How much would it cost you to recover that data if it disappeared? The good news here is that it’s quite easy and relatively inexpensive to implement multiple back-ups to both local and cloud storage, ensuring that your data can be recovered if the worst happens. Just remember to implement a regular schedule for back-ups, and encrypt any back-ups you put online.
2. I’ve lost my mobile or laptop with the business on it!
This relates back to the necessity for back-up, but also a simple if rather harsh lesson in security policies. The good news here is that a number of security suites for laptops and apps for smartphones allow you to remotely track lost or stolen devices, which increases the likelihood of recovery. The same applications also offer the ability to set recovery messages and rewards to finders, and as a final nuclear option, clear your business data from the device to stop it getting into the wrong hands.
3. Sluggish systems, but no cash for upgrades
There’s an obvious appeal to running hardware as long as you feasibly can, but in the small business space the cash for actual upgrades may be a little thin on the ground.
Other factors can heavily hit your computer efficiency, however. Both malware and software bugs can seriously impact the security and speed of your systems, which is why it’s vital to keep your security software and general patches up to date not just for operating systems but also applications. Security software does carry a cost — but significantly less than the cost of your business being compromised — while patches just cost you a little time. A freshly patched system — or at worst, a reinstallation of the OS — can work wonders without breaking the bank.
4. Lack of illustration
Got a sales brochure or website ready to go, but all your own graphics or photography skills are less than stellar?
Rather than appearing low-rent, use any of the internet’s repositories of commercially suitable imagery to illustrate your point. Flickr, for example, makes it simple to search for images that are free to use for commercial purposes (usually only with attribution required), greatly expanding your illustration possibilities as long as you follow the copyright rules.
5. Print costs out of control
You bought that inkjet because it was only fifty bucks, figuring you’d saved compared to a $300 laser, only to find that the ink costs made any in-depth printing an expense you just can’t afford.
This is where careful research pays off; depending on your precise needs it may actually be more cost-efficient to outsource your printing to an external firm. At a simpler level, it might pay to dedicate an inkjet to brochure printing only and switch to a mono laser for everyday printing work.
Alex Kidman is a multiple award winning technology writer and former editor of both CNET Australia and Gizmodo Australia. As a technology writer over multiple decades, he's contributed to every major technology publication in Australia, as well as in newsprint and on TV and radio discussing technology, culture and the intersection between both. This article was first published at myob.com.au