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People who own small businesses likely don’t think of their businesses as small. Whether a company is home to a team of 30 or an employee base of 3,000 people, running a business is no simple task. Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) have their own unique advantages, characteristics, and challenges just like their larger enterprise-level counterparts. And while SMBs consist of organizations with less than 500 employees, their potential for business growth is unlimited. With the right tools and strategies in place ahead of time, SMBs can compete effectively with larger companies and successfully reach their business goals.

The key? Start treating your SMB like a big business—even if it’s not quite there yet. There are several forward-thinking strategies SMB leaders and decision makers can leverage to ensure their business is prepared for future success.

Demonstrate business health regardless of size

As online buying and digital experiences continue to play a major role in business success, keeping your company’s digital presence updated, user friendly, and welcoming is key to growing your audience. Prioritize delivering high-quality buying experiences for your customers with a modern, streamlined website.

Maintaining active social media channels can also help demonstrate the stability and success of your SMB by showing that your business has a steady stream of customers. Some ways to promote this strategy include growing follower counts on your social media platforms, regularly interacting with your audience, posting relevant and engaging content, and sharing positive product or service reviews.

Make the most of the cloud

While mobility and accessibility are essential to business success in today’s digital world, scalability is the key to maintaining both of those capabilities, regardless of the size of your business. Thanks to digital innovation, cloud technology delivers all three. In addition to making sure your customers can access your business easily and connect from multiple devices, the cloud also delivers a number of valuable benefits to your team.

With the added connectivity of cloud-powered tools, employees can collaborate seamlessly on cutting-edge platforms and can maintain workplace productivity while they’re working remotely or traveling. SMBs can even leverage a more efficient and reliable cloud-based infrastructure without going over budget. In fact, 82% of companies surveyed say that they’ve reduced operations costs as result of utilizing cloud technology.[1]

Keep your security updated

Being aware of cybersecurity is just as crucial for SMBs as it is for Fortune 500 companies. In 2017, roughly 61% of small businesses say they experienced a cyber attack within the last 12 months.[2] Because SMBs often have limited budgets, they sometime consider security a lower priority when compared to other technology benefits. But not focusing on digital security puts SMBs at risk for data breaches and productivity losses that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to a 2017 report, the average cost due to damage or theft of IT assets and infrastructure increased from roughly $880,000 to more than $1 million.2 That same report stated that the average cost of disruption and loss of productivity was roughly $1.2 million for companies in 2017.

Adopting digital solutions that have security measures built in is one cost-effective way to keep your business protected without going over budget. For example, 94% of small businesses report security benefits since moving to the cloud—great news for SMBs considering cloud-based solutions.1 With secure platforms in place, SMBs can protect their IT infrastructure while ensuring customer data remains safe.

Build a unique and consistent customer experience

Customer experience is fundamental to business success for organizations across industry and company size. But for SMBs, successful customer experiences can deliver several benefits that can give them a notable market advantage. Impactful customer experiences can help differentiate SMBs from their competitors, allowing them to stand out and more effectively compete with larger industry leaders.

Promoting customer-first experiences also drives customer satisfaction. Over time, these experiences can convert customers into loyal brand ambassadors who will follow your business as it grows—and share their positive experiences with their friends. One recent survey found that 72% of consumers will share if they have a positive experience with a brand with 6+ people.[3] It’s no wonder then that 84% of organizations working to improve customer experience have reported an increase in revenue.[4]

Proactively planning for business growth encourages your team and your customers to think big, while ensuring your organization’s infrastructure will be able to handle the coming expansion. From demonstrating the health of your company and maintaining digital security, to promoting memorable customer experiences and leveraging the full benefits of cloud technology, it’s important for businesses to plan ahead. Elevate your SMB and your business goals by laying a strategic foundation with your company’s future success in mind.