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Top 5 Tech Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Whether we like it or not, being an entrepreneur these days also means you have to be a techno-geek. No, we may not like all of the time and effort our technology sometimes requires, but we sure do like the convenience it affords us and how it enables us to be more effective and potentially make more money.

You will notice that I used the word “potentially” because it is equally true that there is a lot that can go wrong: hardware, software, computers, hacking, phishing, e-commerce, smartphones, dumb phones – the fact is, these days, if we remain techno-nerds, we will miss the techno-boat.

So if you want to take advantage of this new world, let me suggest that there are five tech mistakes that entrepreneurs tend to make that need to be avoided. They are (in no particular order):

The fact is, these days, if we remain techno-nerds, we will miss the techno-boat.

1. Lack of security: Did you know that in the past few years, one of the fastest growing crimes is small business financial theft and fraud due to online piracy, social media identity theft, and phishing scams? The last number I saw pegged the total that the FBI is investigating at more than $100 million.

Your customer lists, account numbers, passwords, bank information, data, contracts, and other vital information are the lifeblood of your business, but far too many small businesses act like the threat to them is not real. But it’s real, very real. So get some great security software and install it. Implement policies that mandate that your staff not download “updates” outside of the normal process. Monitor your social media so as to be on the alert for fraud.

And make doubly sure that your security system can check for “keystroke logging software” – that is one of the main culprits.

2. Looking small: No matter how small your small business, the Internet has leveled the playing field. In fact, while you may be small offline, the techno-trick is that online you can and should look every bit as big and professional as your biggest competitor.

This means that you must not only have a great looking website, but you must also have a vibrant social media presence. People will likely check you out online before they ever do in person now, so make sure that what they find is something special.

Be small, but look big.

3.  Not scheduling regular data back-ups: Plenty of pundits like me are wont to tell you to backup your data regularly, but very few of them are as dumb as me to say it but not do it. Recently I lost two chapters of a book I was writing because my backup system – manually, when I remembered to do it – was, well, dumb. Let’s just say that I backup every night now, automatically, remotely, online.

So don’t make the mistake you pal Steve made; I learned the hard way for you. Backup. Now. Right now!

4. Never really learning the software: Like the brain, people tend to use only about 10% of what their software can actually do. That’s the mistake. Software companies spend a lot of time and money studying small business and creating software to meet our needs. If you spend a little extra time actually learning what your software can do, you will be amazed.

5. Not disposing of old technology properly: When you simply throw old phones and computers and other technology away, you invite two problems. First, you are adding toxic materials into landfills. Second, improperly disposing of your technology exposes your valuable, sensitive data to being accessed by others.

To get rid of your old technology properly, check with the manufacturer, your local department of waste management, or donate it to charity for a tax deduction.

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About Steve Strauss

Senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible, Steve is your host here at TheSelfEmployed.com.


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