Redundancy is a word many businesses would prefer to avoid, except for those businesses where redundancy means the inclusion of components to safeguard against the failure of vital equipment/services.
For example, radio stations build in redundancy at every level of their business that involves broadcasting their content: back-up microphones in studios; back-up studios; back-up transmission links; back-up power. Having these back-ups in place ensures the station can stay on air when some technology fails.
If your business relies on access to the internet, Nolan Braterman of Frontier Voice and Data argues that you should have a redundancy plan, to ensure your business doesn’t suffer when there is a broadband outage.
As a start-up business you have a lot to think about but not a lot of time. Although a phone line and broadband connection are essential, you may feel that ‘all the providers are basically the same’ – so are tempted to just go with the telecoms provider that’s the easiest or the cheapest.
If this is your thinking – you are not alone.
Unfortunately, however, there are many costly traps for the unwary. It’s therefore worth spending a little time considering which telecoms package is right for you and your business – now and throughout the duration of the contract. (more…)
The kind of technological disruptions we are seeing raise questions for businesses of all sizes. What will work be like in the future? How will organisations adapt? How will they navigate their way to the ‘next horizon’?
How small businesses, in particular, respond to the challenges and exploit the benefits of smart technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) will be a key determinant of their success going forward.
So what should you do to make sure your business benefits from new technologies like artificial intelligence, and doesn’t become obsolete? (more…)
The digital age is showing no signs of slowing down and there is now a greater range and scope of technology on the market than ever before.
As the demand for and the production of the latest technology increases, so does the need for efficient and eco-friendly disposal methods of old electronic equipment.
This is just as important for small businesses as it is for large businesses. If you’re a small organisation wanting to understand how you can get rid of your electronic waste efficiently and cost-effectively, read on to discover the world of WEEE recycling and disposal. (more…)
Point of sales systems have been around for hundreds of years, and for most of that time they were not much more than a cash drawer and calculator. That was until now – huge leaps in technology have taken the humble till a long way forward in the last few years.
Today, point of sale systems can do so much more. They can feed data on sales straight to your accountant, keep track of stock levels and even find your best sales person.
Not only have all of these features come in with technological advances, but the price of a POS system is also now more affordable, lifting some strain from smaller businesses.
A till has become the cornerstone of a business, and that also means that if it falls short it can also send your business into disarray – so it is important to choose a system that really works for you. Here are some key points to consider when trying to find the right till option for your business. (more…)
From greater productivity and coming up with new and exciting ideas, to boosting morale and motivation, there are lots of advantages to working together. New businesses may be searching for effective and efficient ways to help promote teamwork and one of the best ways to do this is through document collaboration.
Document collaboration has a number of benefits. Most notably, it keeps everyone ‘in the loop’.
The practice makes it easy to see changes, understand processes, and maintain strong communications, both internally and externally. However, while some may think of collaboration as being simple, getting it right can be tricky.
So to help you get it right first time, we asked, author and document management specialist, Kent Raju to share his tips on how startups and small businesses can successfully collaborate on documents: (more…)
As internet access becomes increasingly universal, more and more businesses are turning to cloud phone systems (also known as PBX, virtual or internet phone systems and VoIP) instead of traditional landlines.
The benefits of a cloud phone system are numerous – they’re more flexible, allowing team members to make and receive calls without being tied to their desk, and they’re often more cost-effective for smaller businesses.
If you’re thinking of moving to a cloud phone system, or setting up your first business phone system, this guide will help you to work out which features you’ll need, and what to look out for when choosing a phone system supplier. (more…)
To some extent we are all caught in a telecoms trap. Whether you are in services, retail, or manufacturing your start-up or small business must have some form of telecoms.
This gives some suppliers an opportunity to bamboozle customers with jargon and complicated long-term contracts. It can even get to the point where when you have a query and consider moving supplier you are promptly told, “sorry you are still under contract.”
But are you really always bound by such a contract, and do you have any options to get out of a telecoms contract you aren’t happy with?
We asked Dave Millett of independent telecoms brokerage, Equinox, to give you the inside-track on business telecoms contracts; (more…)
Part 2 of; The Future of Business – 20 Key Trends leaders should know. (more…)
Over 600,000 business were started in the UK in 2016, and that number is expected to be exceeded in 2017.
There are many challenges for every one of these business start-ups, but some new businesses make it harder for themselves by making basic mistakes with their telecoms.
You don’t have to think back very far to remember the time when disruptive start-ups and forward thinking businesses were championing a “digital first” strategy. Digital technology had been adopted by mainstream consumers and companies that failed to recognise it were being left behind.
More recently, that slogan has been replaced for many businesses by a new one, “mobile first,” and is not difficult to understand why. Today’s consumers are constantly on their mobile. (more…)
As the name suggests, a dual sim phone allows you to have two sims in a single phone. There are a variety of reasons why people may want access to two different phone numbers on a single device.
A dual sim phone could be of particular use to self employed people, freelancers and business owners who want to be able to handle personal and work calls separately, but don’t want to carry two different phones.
The facility to have separate numbers for work and personal contacts, with tailored voicemail messages can help you to be more professional and create a better impressions with potential customers. With dual sim phones seemingly solving a communications conundrum for many small business owners we asked telecoms expert, Dave Millett, to share his insight into them; (more…)
Technological innovation is happening ever more rapidly and the changes will transform every industry. Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from these innovative technologies but must strike a balance between using technology and being overwhelmed by it.
To help business owners embrace the potential of new technologies we asked Rohit Talwar, editor of, ‘The Future of Business’ and ‘Technology vs. Humanity’ to provide some practical advice on how to survive, and thrive, in the face of this continuous tidal wave of technological change. (more…)
IT security has never been a bigger issue for startups and SMEs, with 3 in 5 digital firms likely to experience service failures by 2020 due to improper mitigation of risk. It comes at a time when small businesses are increasingly being targeted by hackers keen to exploit network vulnerabilities, and access their data.
Ensuring the security of your data – and more importantly, the data you hold on your customers – is essential. It’s one of the reasons that many businesses are moving to the cloud, where data is stored virtually.
It’s a cost effective solution for most business, but those things that make the cloud an attractive option – accessibility, flexibility and price – are reasons why others consider it to be unsafe. As more and more small businesses move data and processes to the cloud, here’s a handy guide to ensuring your data is safe. (more…)
As a small business, one of the biggest threats to your information assets resides within your operatin. The insider threat, intentional or otherwise, is now one of the major concerns in cybersecurity, and with good cause.
So what exactly are the insider threats to small businesses, and how can you mitigate the dangers? We asked Jamie Graves, Co- Founder and CEO of ZoneFox to explain;
Security breaches and cybercrime incidents hit the headlines in 2016, as high-profile news of data breaches, malware, DDoS attacks and compromised systems became mainstream news.
The news reports inevitably focused on cyber-attacks on major corporations, such as the data thefts from TalkTalk, Three and Tesco Bank, as well as the extraordinary autumn story of the attack on Dyn, which made use of IoT-enabled household devices, such as fridges and toasters, to form a botnet that successfully brought down an enormous number of websites, both large and small.
Whilst the past year was eventful, to say the least, in terms of cybersecurity threats, it’s likely that cyber-related incidents will continue to grow in the future, both in the sheer number of attacks and the level of sophistication used in those attacks.
It’s therefore vital that business owners take steps to educate themselves, and their workforce, on the type of threats they could potentially experience. In this article, we examine some of the key trends in the cybersecurity world. (more…)
While compared to the 500 million user details breached at Yahoo it may seem but a small number, however this hack has highlighted the significant risk that cybercrime poses to small businesses.
The latest Government Security Breaches Survey has highlighted the fact that small businesses are at increased risk from cyber-attacks, with nearly three-quarters of small firms reporting a security breach in 2015; a year-on-year increase from the 2013 and 2014 surveys. So what can small business owners do to protect themselves? (more…)
Small businesses often begin when an entrepreneur brings an idea to life on a laptop at the kitchen table. At this point, the entire IT infrastructure of the business is likely to be the computer and the software it’s running. But things can grow very quickly.
As your startup grows, the size and complexity of your business increases. An integrated and functional IT system can help you manage this transition, improving productivity, security and also saving money. And best of all, because of developments in hardware and software, it doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated to manage.
Using cloud services, a functioning virtual network can be created simply and quickly for your business in a matter of moments online. In fact, creating the network is the simple bit – to make it function properly and securely, you’ll need to gain some insight, do some planning and potentially get some external support.
Here, we share some practical hints and tips to help you manage your business’s IT as you grow and develop. (more…)
The inbox has changed from an exciting place where anyone from anywhere in the world can reach you within seconds to a daily burden where tasks disappear under the onslaught of new emails coming in.
Email productivity experts agree that dealing with emails instantly as they appear in our inboxes, decreases productivity. New emails can be dangerously distracting and research suggests that we need to turn off new-email notifications.
But this alone is not enough to curb distraction. It is maybe even more important that we sort our incoming emails into various categories. So how do you handle your inbox productively? (more…)
If you are starting your own business, you can’t hope to succeed in today’s commercial world without employing good, time-saving technology. Fortunately, there are plenty of low-cost, or even, free tools out there that help small businesses to do those everyday tasks that much quicker and simpler. But, faced with dozens of different tools, the biggest problem is usually trying to work out which one offers the best solution.
So to help small business owners find the best time and money-saving tech tools, we asked Martin Bailey, author of The Useful Book of Gadgets, Gizmos and Apps, to share five of his favourite small business utilities that can give you the edge over your competition. (more…)
In recent years, giant corporations such as eBay, British Airways and Linkedin have fallen victim to hackers accessing their data. That such huge companies can be on the receiving end of data breaches, despite their astronomical IT budgets, shows that without the right protection, no company is safe.
So, what does this mean for smaller businesses?
It’s a jungle out there in the big, bad world of ecommerce. You’re having a hard enough time bringing potential customers to your website in the first place, what with your competitors striving to undercut your prices and outrank you in Google searches. That means when people do visit your site, you want to do everything you can to encourage them to stay there – and ultimately, to convert.
Fortunately, there are a few techniques – some tried and trusted, others a little more advanced – that you can adopt to boost your conversion rate. Read on for our top five tips to transform your website into a deadly selling tool; (more…)
Ecommerce enjoyed a big year in 2015, with figures indicating that online retail sales in the UK topped £60 billion over the 12 months.
As consumers become increasingly comfortable with purchasing a wide range of products and services online, and with smartphone-based shopping expected to surge, the coming years are looking even brighter for e-tailers.
But, what does 2016 have in store for B2C ecommerce?
Following on from last year’s very popular 5 e-Commerce trend predictions for 2015 we’ve asked Ian Gordon of iWeb to take a look at the trends that will define the year ahead, and the opportunities that online retailers simply can’t afford to miss.
Since its introduction in the UK just af ew years ago, contactless payments have quickly become a popular way to make low value purchases on debit and credit cards.
In October 2015, more than 10 per cent of all card transactions were made by contactless cards ; a year before, the figure was less than 4 per cent.
Supermarkets have been among the most voracious early adopters of ‘tap and pay’ technology, but that doesn’t mean the solution is only for large retailers or chains. The situation is fast approaching where consumers expect to pay with a tap of their card, and smaller retailers will begin to look behind the times if they can’t provide this option for their customers.
With contactless payments set to increasingly become the norm as consumers look for convenient ways to pay, we asked James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, to explain why small businesses should integrate contactless into their retail operations and to give some advice on how best to do it. (more…)
A lot of thought goes into choosing the right company cars, or vehicles for your business. In finding the right vehicle for your needs, you need to take into account a whole host of factors, including, cost, availability, reliability, your brand image, and emissions.
In recent years electric cars have become more and more commonplace for environmentally aware drivers. Boasting zero emissions, a silent cockpit and advanced technology, they certainly possess some attractive qualities – but are they right for the day-to-day needs of you and your business?
If you’ve found yourself asking this question, these are some of the key issues for you to weigh up if you are considering buying an electric company vehicle: (more…)
Small business owners look to technology to help them achieve their goals and grow their business. They expect it to help them speed up the way they work, make operations more efficient, reduce costs and generally enable them to do more things better. Technology should and really does help achieve these things. However, on the flipside it can also be confusing, expensive, restrictive and require ongoing maintenance.
It’s a vexing problem for the small business owner or entrepreneur. They may not be an IT expert and may not want to be. This year’s DNA of an Entrepreneur survey revealed that Britain’s entrepreneurs are planning to spend much more on innovation over the coming year but, from the constantly evolving technology smorgasbord, how do they decide what to pick and what to leave? (more…)
Back in October 2014, Apple Pay – the contactless NFC payment method on iPhones – launched in the US, and we looked at its potential for small businesses here in the UK.
The question of whether or not SMEs should integrate Apple Pay with their existing payment systems was left unanswered, as it all depended on the adoption and success of Apple Pay across the pond.
Merchants in the UK will have less time to consider their decision now, as Apple Pay’s UK launch is imminent. (more…)
According to new research commissioned by the Government’s Cyber Streetwise Campaign, SMEs are putting a third of their revenue at risk because they are downplaying the threat of cyber-attacks, leaving them exposed and vulnerable.
With this in mind, here’s what small businesses need to watch out for, and 10 clear steps that can be taken to protect against future attacks. (more…)
2014 was a huge year for privacy and security on the Internet.
There were several high profile security issues which were serious enough to make the leap from technical news sites to the mainstream press, and ongoing revelations about how easily everyone’s connections can be spied on have made the major players in the web industry take action.
If you have an e-commerce website, given all the coverage around SSL and website security, now is a good time to check the security of your site, or to consider getting a site certificate if you don’t already have one. This guide explains all.
The term mobile commerce is another digital marketing phrase which often gets thrown around. For many small businesses, it can certainly be difficult to understand the technologies and the benefits which m-commerce can bring to your company.
In this guide, we look at the basics of going mobile, how it can be profitable for your start-up or small business, and include some tips on what you need to look out for when taking your business into the world of mobile commerce.
Year on year, the e-commerce industry continues to boom with more and more companies moving to the web.
The rapid pace of business is amplified online, with the proliferation of apps, new technologies and seemingly daily digital changes affecting how you operate.
Analysts and experts are always attempting to predict the latest trends and developments which could make the most difference to online retailers, so we’ve pulled together some of the most talked about, and hotly anticipated predictions for the e-commerce marketplace in 2015.
We’ve focused on the developments we think could affect your business the most in the next 12 months. Whilst some of these online retailing trends have been developing year on year, others may just be set to explode in 2015 (more…)
There’s nothing worse than being told by a customer that your website is not working. Or logging on yourself to check something, and finding the page you want to see is not displaying.
Website downtime can have a direct impact on your business and on your profits – particularly if you have an e-commerce website – so it’s important to know what you need to do if your website goes down.
Even the most robust websites suffer technical glitches happen, so the chances are you will experience it at some point. Often, it might only be down for a few minutes, as part of wider technical problems or updates to a global server.
But sometimes, there might be a specific problem with your website individually. If you do experience website downtime, here are the five things you should do;
The phrase ‘cloud computing’ has already been around for a number of years. However, plenty of small business owners are only just discovering what the ‘cloud’ actually is and more importantly, how cloud computing can be used to their advantage. (more…)
This week marks the launch of Apple’s latest attempt at changing the way we interact with technology, as Apple Pay, the company’s version of mobile contactless technology, debuts in the US.
Whilst this launch is currently limited to the US, the chances are if all goes to plan it will launch in the UK within the next 6 months.
But what exactly is Apple Pay? And is it going to affect your small business?
There’s a slim chance it could be another fad which flops, but it could also be the system which pushes widespread adoption of mobile payments. So the question is, as a small business, should you look into preparing for Apple Pay?
With research showing that most business owners are forced to overhaul their websites within a year of going live, here are some tips to help get the design right at the first attempt.
Pay Per Click, or PPC, is a common service offered by major search engines, and search engine optimisation (SEO) agencies to help you gain traffic to your website. For many small businesses, PPC represents an immediate way to gain new online customers.