How to utilize technology to make your small business a success

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. —  More than 90% of companies in America are small businesses despite all the mega corporations.  But 50% of those businesses fail in their first 5 years.  That's why having the proper game plan is key, and one of the first steps is to utilize technology and the internet  for your small business.

"We are a hospice company.  We to go where the patient is, and for us mobility is key.  We can't be locked into land-lines and we need to be able to transfer cell calls," said Robin Lightfoot, Executive Director of Heritage Hospice.

That's why a new app and system has helped their business tremendously, allowing them to change where calls are routed given their needs.

"Being able to do it from a distance and change the person that is receiving the calls has helped us prevent missed calls, helped us prevent pulling our nurses from whatever patients they may be with, and made sure there's no gap and no delay," said Lightfoot.

Heritage Hospice uses a Comcast business system.  Whatever provider you chose, one of the best ways a small business can stretch their dollar is to bundle,  and not just typical bundling.

"Am I going to need cell phones?  Am I going to need land-lines, am I going to need a customer facing internet?  Do I need my own wireless gateway in the front of the store, do I have a TV up front," said Mike Wilson, PR Director for Comcast Indiana.

Wilson says managing your network is vital.  Every internet and technology provider is different.  If you’re a small business with multiple stores or locations, find an internet provider that offers usable network management over a broad footprint.  For example, Comcast has a product called SD Wan that enables business customers to access their network at multiple locations.

Another way to save money, instead of hiring a website developer, is to use a company like Squarespace that can help small business owners looking to get online exposure. And, If you're looking to build an online store, there are platforms like Shopify.

Managing your website is key.  If you’re looking to build a website or even an online store, think about what options your internet provider might offer that can help.  Here's another example:  Comcast offers Wi-Fi Pro, which is a service that enables a top tier of network management. It’s especially good for business owners who may have a need for customer-facing internet access in their stores. It will let you manage a splash page, focus your Wi-Fi resources, and gauge network and use analytics. If you have a small business, another factor to success is internet speed.

"If it's slow, it doesn't work.  Everything that we do is electronic.  Our charting is electronic, our communications are mostly electronic, so if it's going slow that means that everything goes slow," said Lightfoot.

That means people are working harder to get the same job done, but in the last month, that's all changed for Heritage Hospice.

"So since we've had the service, we haven't had any disruptions and everything moves like very fast," said Lightfoot.

Another way to make money is don't spend as much.  It sounds obvious, but many businesses overbuy what's needed for a company website.

"If you think you need a gigabit service, and you want a fiber line running and you want the Cadillac of whatever, 10 gigs is what we can offer up to now, but a small business doesn't need that.  For example, we use 1 gig to run an entire casino," said Wilson.

Reputable companies should not oversell, so ask around.  For Heritage Hospice, they've more than doubled their employees in a matter of months after matching their technology with their needs.

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