It has always been a challenge to run a successful business, and with fewer resources, experience and cash than larger organisations, keeping yours afloat gets even more daunting. And while this was true before Covid-19, this pandemic has made it at least a few magnitudes more difficult.

While Covid has created an unprecedented roadblock for small businesses, they have risen to the occasion. With increasing frequency, many have been forced to turn to digital technology to assist in recovery. This rapid transition has created a number of new opportunities.

Telephone plans

Small businesses looking to take their phone game up a notch should look at VoIP plans. These digital voice communication platforms facilitate more complex communication within a business structure.

These plans allow an employee to forward their business phone calls to any phone line, whether a landline in the office, a business-provided smartphone or even a home phone number.

VoIP plans also open up possibilities for a virtual receptionist – on a small scale – or even a unified virtual call centre.

These VoIP services can also integrate neatly with Customer Relationship Management software that can offer additional automation and support, such as recording and robo dialling.


Video Conferencing

While hardly new, video conferencing has experienced significant growth fuelled by the pandemic. According to Digital In the Round, 76% of employees use video conferencing for remote work. Additionally, productivity via video meetings has improved by 50%, and 47% of video conference users indicate that they have been able to benefit from the reduction of their travel costs. It is no wonder that for 2020, video conferencing internet traffic saw a staggering rise of 535%.

While just about any business smartphone can support video conferencing, a handful of platforms have emerged as the leaders when it comes to small business. Thankfully, what would have been a frustrating exercise a decade ago can now be done with ease. Some things to consider when shopping for a conference app are the number of simultaneous users on the platform, the ease with which a screen can be shared among conference participants, the ability to record the conference and whether there is support for custom backgrounds.


Proposal software

Small businesses also need platforms to gain efficiency, such as when making a proposal. Recently, some companies have looked to upgrade from clipboards and paper to proposal software. This allows a business to grab a template, which can automate the writing process, combine elements for a professional look and use email to send out the proposal right away. All this combines to enable a small business to get an edge when making a proposal, and to get back to work.


Mobile scanning

Not every solution for small business needs to be so fancy, or complex: Enter mobile scanning. With workers remotely and more mobile during this pandemic, there is a definite need to be able to efficiently scan documents. While dedicated desk scanners with paper feed mechanisms are a good solution for office-based workers, this would be an expensive outlay to give each remote worker. Also, factoring in the scanning of documents may be only an occasional task. Again realise that sending documents through email is 100% Covid-19 free. Once you enjoy the convenience of having the power to snap a pic of a document with a phone and turn it into a PDF in seconds, there is no reason to go back to photocopying pages.

Enabling your small business staff with mobile scanning is as simple as choosing which app to download onto your smartphone. Features to look for cover integration with online storage solutions, integration with email, tiered pricing plans to suit your needs, support for multi-page documents, and optical character recognition (OCR) that can transform the scan into an editable document.


Contactless payments

With a risk of infection, consumers have shied away from using cash. While the actual risk of Covid-19 infection is likely low from using cash, contactless payments are still on the rise.

Small businesses are smart to embrace this trend. Rather than using the traditional credit card systems, with the older magnetic stripe technology, or the newer (and much more secure) chip readers, consumers are expecting to have contactless payment options. These are the so-called “tap and go” transactions that happen via radio waves and antennas with digital tokens for security. This allows a fully contactless payment system.


Synced calendars

Remote working has its challenges, and an important one is keeping the team synchronised, while working together from multiple locations. Keeping the team on the same page can start with a shared calendar, also known as a synced calendar. While this once may have represented a daunting task, with an executive assistant in charge of coordinating multiple calendars, this has been simplified through the use of the cloud.


Digital marketing

With Covid-19, marketing became even more of a challenge, with small businesses having the burden of keeping engagement with their customers while shut down or working remotely. Also, there is a need to communicate a rapidly-changing landscape of changing hours, reduced services, delivery menus and even new or modified offerings, depending on the business. Some establishments that do this well can benefit from the opportunity to strengthen relationships with loyal customers.

Depending on the small business, there are various methods to accomplish marketing. Direct outreach via phone can work with existing customers and can be appropriate to a limited extent in some circumstances. Use of social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Yelp has also increased, which is well suited for a rapid rollout of short-term info, such as a daily special at a restaurant.

Beyond that, small businesses should look into digital marketing platforms that can take this process to the next level. This includes activities such as search engine optimisation, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing and mobile marketing, to name a few.

While this has been a year of tumultuous changes, small businesses have shown their skills at doing what they do best: adapting. While the future might still be uncertain, small businesses that adapt to new technology and use it to learn and grow are sure to thrive.


This article was written by Jonas P. DeMuro from TechRadar and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to