Connectivity is essential for any company in any industry. This is regardless of the marketplace you’re trying to exploit. Communication should always be a two-way street, and the internet makes that happen. But did you know that the internet could be the tool that is used to ruin your business? There are so many risks that could affect your business. Is yours ready to cope with them?
We’ve all seen the stories in the press about hackers holding your entire system data to ransom. It can easily happen by clicking a link in an email. Sometimes those emails are designed to look like they came from a contact. This is where human error plays a part. If you click that link, it might set in motion the take-over of your system. If you have no backups of your data, then you only have two choices. Pay the ransom (do you really want to make crime pay?) or delete your hard drive yourself.
Losing your data is a problem, but the problem may be bigger than you think. Consider your customers. What will they think when they learn that personal data they gave you might have been compromised? Even if you say their data was untouched, they might not believe you. Your reputation may be in tatters, and customers may not come back. If this hits your sales hard, you might lose everything.
Twitter is the place for people to rant, complain, and hide behind relative anonymity. For businesses, social media platforms like Twitter provide free promotional opportunities. Don’t forget the true purpose of social media though. That is to speak to each other. You might have a social media marketing strategy in place. And you might have a PR strategy that requires you to respond to tweets and messages in under an hour.
This time pressure can be tough to meet. If a customer demands attention, you have to give it. It’s a public call. Make sure your tweet back is a response though, and not a reaction. Angry customers like to vent publicly in an attempt to get the crowd on side. React in that same tone of voice, and you’ll easily become trapped in a public argument that does your company reputation harm. Respond appropriately every time, or hand it to a PR firm that can.
Startups run their businesses on a shoestring budget. Until the big orders start flooding in, you have to make do with the equipment you can get your hands on. But if you don’t invest in the right IT systems, then your entire business foundation could crumble. Think of the online systems you use, the documents that you rely on, and the computers that serve your business. Without outsourced IT support, you might not have anyone in the business to fix the problems.
Downtime costs you sales, and it interrupts your workflow. You’ll fail to meet deadlines, fulfill orders, or monitor your marketing campaigns. Any small IT problem can cost you more worker hours than you can afford. Make sure you have a company you can rely on to keep you running twenty-four hours a day. If you can’t connect to the internet, you can’t connect your business to your global market and customer base.
Very few marketers are directly involved with their company website. This can be a mistake for several reasons. For a start, your website is your storefront. It’s your business card, your advertising campaign, and your customer service centre. If your homepage or landing pages aren’t well designed, then you might as well put a ‘closed’ sign on the door. Every page must welcome visitors in, and there needs to be clear access to every piece of information they are looking for.
The website may be treated as a ‘techy’ issue, but you must ensure you have full input into its look, design and service provision. For a start, Google will not rank your website well if you’ve not secured the site with a https:// URL prefix for every page. Your hosting provider can fix this for you (although there may be a fee.) Google is starting to frown upon pop-ups as you land on each page too. Data collection is essential for business growth, but your search engine ranking position is vital. No rank, no visitors. Then you definitely won’t collect any data.
Most importantly, once you’ve regained your website’s visibility in the search engine, you need to make sure the page loads fast and features everything a customer might expect. Make navigation simple and keep the design easy on the eye. Don’t let your business fall foul on the internet.