Small businesses and the web: A love affair that keeps growing

Companies these days rely heavily on technology, especially when it comes to being online. According to a survey by U.S. publisher The Business Journals, some 55% of SME owners said they are online for eight or more hours a day in order to be connected to their firms. What else are they doing?

  • 71% said they research online for products to purchase
  • 58% look for business news
  • Almost half have included social networking in their marketing initiatives.

What's more, smartphone, iPad and apps usage by business owners is on the rise, while desktop, notebook/netbook and laptop usage has decreased. Perhaps the most telling stat from the study is that 70% of responders said that technology has greatly increased their company's productivity.

The Internet can indeed boost productivity and has been a boon for small business, in particular, through these ways:

  • Employee tools. Labour-saving web-based applications abound. Even applications we take for granted, e-mail for instance, have been game-changers. Gone are the days when we faxed all of our non-verbal communication. We can even meet face-to-face with a group online, complete with the ability to make presentations.
  • Data sharing. The web provides instant, shared accessibility among employees to all company information they need to get the job done.
  • Low cost - or free - information. A vast amount of information exists online that boosts productivity, ranging from the ability to research different products before purchasing through to helping with employee training and education needs.

If you're one of the savvy business owners taking advantage of all that using the web has to offer SMEs, it's crucial that you examine or revisit the best options for your company. Here are some suggestions:

  • Enable your staff to get the internet speed they need. That requires bandwidth. While you don't want to pay for expensive bandwidth you don't need, you want consistent, reliable high-speed access and upload and download. Consider Primus' Business Ethernet Extended (BEX). It's dedicated, not shared, because it uses your existing phone infrastructure instead of fibre (which also makes it a highly cost-effective solution). At the same time, BEX is scalable, meaning that it can grow as your business does.
  • Outsource your critical applications. Free up your staff to do what they've been hired to do. If it's imperative for you to own your servers, and you want to retain complete control over the operation and maintenance of your equipment, then server colocation may be the answer. By utilizing Primus Server Colocation services, you are in control, while at the same time, enjoy the luxury of having 24/7 technicians monitor Primus' network and services to ensure optimal uptime and performance. 

    If your servers need an expensive upgrade or are housed in an unsecure or inadequate environment, then your best solution is to completely outsource your data at a reliable and secure data centre. This will get the job done probably better and less expensively than your current system because Primus provides the high-speed connection and bandwidth, and billing is based on how much you actually use.
  • Access and share via cloud computing. If you need to expand your web presence but lack the resources to buy, administer and continually upgrade, or if you want to make life easier for your mobile workers or satellite offices by providing shared access 24/7 from anywhere in the world, then think about another Primus solution, PrimusCloud Server. PrimusCloud Server is a server delivered as a monthly service so you eliminate hardware and operational costs associated with a physical infrastructure. You also eliminate the headaches associated with keeping things up and running because PrimusCloud Server is fully managed by expert and certified Primus staff with access to a virtual pool of resources, effectively eliminating downtime.

However you choose to access the Internet, chances are you will probably increase your reliance on it as your business grows. Making good decisions today about how you will manage these mission critical operations will help you focus on your core business strategies and stay ahead of your competitors.