Like a survivalist in a coastal town storing emergency supplies for hurricane season, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) must prepare for future emergencies. Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and pandemics are all crises that have presented major challenges to SMBs. It’s impossible to know for sure when there will be another disaster, but just as residents in a storm path must stay prepared, SMBs must anticipate inevitable threats that can disproportionately affect them and represent an existential threat.
According to FEMA, “Nine out of ten small businesses will close within one year if they don’t resume operations within five days after a natural disaster.” Additionally it reported, “Businesses that lost their information technology for nine days or more after a disaster filed for bankruptcy within a year.”
While we never know exactly what’s coming next, “Tech Equity” helps SMBs effectively prepare for the unforeseen and unknown. I coined the term Tech Equity to describe the value that technology adds to a business. Tech Equity is an asset, comprising key components of a company’s technology portfolio that drive differentiation and value creation. SMBs that create Tech Equity are more future ready as they become better positioned to navigate crises, take advantage of opportunities, and outperform their competition. With the right preparation, SMBs not only survive but thrive amid crises.
The components of Tech Equity are divided into two categories: Alpha and Beta. The Alpha components comprise the types of technology investment that create value and result in the greatest return on investment. Strong Alphas, including creating a digital culture that attracts talented people and fosters a flexible work environment, will increase company valuation and enable SMBs to outperform their competition.
While the Alpha components provide the greatest investment return, the Beta Tech Equity components are essential for mitigating risk and volatility in an SMB. A company that hasn’t addressed Beta components, such as IT infrastructure optimization, is at risk for costly upgrades and is more prone to the volatility of outages than competitors that have maintained and modernized their Beta Tech Equity components.
The effort SMBs make today will help ensure they survive whatever they face tomorrow. Having a disaster recovery or business continuity plan is certainly not a new concept. Many SMBs understand the need to back up their data and have redundancies in network equipment and servers. This is a good start, but SMBs can create Tech Equity and protect themselves much further by moving their data and applications to cloud providers rather than keeping them “on-prem”. Cloud providers often include replication, backup, and geographic redundancy as part of their services to provide SMBs with the resilience needed to recover from devastating crises.
Recent news outlets have featured video clips of flooding in the streets of New York City. Aside from the obvious risks to health and safety, this type of weather event is a serious risk for SMBs. This is true even for companies that are cloud-based or are fortunate enough to have backup power and be on one of the higher floors in a building. But how can the business stay afloat if the employees are unable to travel to the office and enter the building?
SMBs that invest in creating Tech Equity by implementing a remote work infrastructure protect themselves from serious business disruptions caused by natural disasters. This includes creating virtual private networks (VPNs), using cloud-based collaboration software, and providing employees with devices to work remotely. Beyond enabling a reliable method for employees to work during a disaster, this technology also allows SMBs to offer work-from-home flexibility to their workforce and to access talent from around the globe.
While there’s little SMBs can do to prevent a natural disaster, creating Tech Equity helps them to stay prepared, ensuring that the business survives and continues to thrive even in the face of a crisis.short url: