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Stupid small business tech mistakes, and how to prevent them

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Feb. 14, 2011
If you're not particularly tech-savvy, then purchasing, maintaining, and securing technology for your business can be a confusing situation to navigate. You may already know plenty about what you should do, but what about what you should not do?

Ensure that your company's smartphones are password-protected (Passwords like "1234" or "9999" don't count), have remote wipe capabilities enabled, and have a secure operating system (BlackBerry allows users to encrypt SD cards, for instance), just in case someone does leave a handset in a bar somewhere. For more granular controls, also investigate smartphone management software, such as NotifyMDM.

4. Taking Too Many Trips

Business trips can be expensive, even you happen to be an airfare ninja. Instead of hopping on a plane to meet your business partners, consider using technology to create a virtual meeting environment. Various Web conferencing and video conferencing tools enable you to hold a virtual conference and save on time and transportation.

Plus, studies show that telecommuting is good for both employers and employees. Employers will get better quality work in less time and for less money, while employees will enjoy a less-restrictive schedule.

5. Disposing of Old Technology Incorrectly

You can't just toss computers, smartphones, and other gadgets in the trash, because they contain hazardous materials that can damage the environment. In a worst-case scenario, disposing improperly of old tech can cost you in fines. But this doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money for someone else to dispose of it properly.

Instead, consider cleaning up and reselling your old tech. Obviously this means your technology has to be in working condition, although some companies will still take phones with cracked screens. If your tech passes the standards of companies such as Gazelle or NextWorth, then remember to wipe your data first and then send along the gear, and you may get a decent check to use toward your office upgrade.

6. Failing at Social Networking

Social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook are excellent resources for small businesses to develop an online presence. However, they're not so excellent if you never use them, if you automate them, or even worse, if you use them to get into online spats with customers.

Having a Twitter account and only tweeting impersonal, promotional one-liners is almost as bad as having no Twitter account at all. After all, the key to social networking is the "social" part--not the networking.

Twitter can be dangerous, too. Just recently, Kenneth Cole made light of the current situation in Egypt with a tweet that said: "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo." This tweet offended many people, and something similarly insensitive could spell absolute disaster for a small business.

 

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