The internet often seems fundamental to modern business life; everything from customer service, bookkeeping, sales, marketing and even daily operations can be (and generally is) done online. However not every business is taking full advantage of the benefits the internet can provide.
Some businesses may not be able to access fast, reliable internet services, and choose to remain largely offline rather than deal with the hassle of dropouts and disconnects. This is a very understandable position (and a big reason why RISE is working hard to bring fast, reliable internet connections to more people in the Philippines). What is harder to understand, are the people that let fear stop them from using the internet for their business.
Today we’re going to look at a few of the reasons why businesses can be scared of the internet, including the things businesses are most afraid of, and how your business can conquer these fears.
Why are businesses scared of the internet?
The word “scared” is very negatively charged, and also very personal. The implications of “being scared” of something are often that the person is being a bit silly, that the thing scaring them is trivial, and that the person can (and should) just get over their fear.
However, people often have very good reasons for being scared of something, and in the case of the internet, older businesses would have been exposed to many very real and very dangerous things. While a younger business, especially those just starting out, may have always had and relied on the internet as we know it today, anyone who used the internet back in the 90s or early 2000s has had a very different experience.
The perception of the early internet was that it was unsecured, uninsured, and prone to “hacks”. Popular media played a large role in this perception, with movies like “Hackers”, “Swordfish”, “The Net” and even “The Matrix” all featured the internet as a tool for nefarious if not outright illegal activity.
The truth however, is that the internet wasn’t really any more dangerous than it is today – people just didn’t know how best to protect themselves or identify real threats and so they felt more at risk. The people who conquered this fear went on to develop internet literacy, learning the skills necessary to thrive and succeed online. The people who remained afraid, unfortunately, were stuck.
How to stop worrying and protect your business online
If the above sounds like your business, you might be in a better position than you think. There’s never been a better time to get your business online. The last few years have seen people migrate to online for basically everything in their lives; from shopping, ordering food, employment, education, and entertainment. More and more people are choosing to go online over brick-and-mortar options, and your business can capitalize on this shift.
Start Your Internet Education
The first step to conquering a fear of the internet is to learn more about it. Most people are scared of the internet based on misconceptions from years ago, from popular media like movies and TV shows, or simply from hearing rumours. Getting a solid understanding of how the internet actually works, and how it can be used safely, is a great way to put those fears to rest.
Protect Your Privacy
Not all fears of the internet are from ignorance however – some are very much real. Spyware, spam, ransomware, viruses and identity theft are major concerns for businesses of all sizes, and cyber attacks can happen at any time.
There are many different ways that businesses can protect themselves and their customers from cyber security threats. Whether that’s using bespoke anti-virus software, training employees on how to spot and avoid would-be cyber attacks, or working directly with a cyber security firm – there are plenty of options available to keep your business safe online.
Learn The Language of Technology
The adage “you don’t know what you don’t know” applies to all forms of business, but doubly so when using the internet. If you’ve never heard of a particular software or application, or don’t have the words to describe the features that your business needs, it will be very difficult to find solutions to your problems.
Part of learning more about the internet includes learning the language of modern technology. From social media marketing to remote desktop authentication processes, there’s always something new to learn when it comes to internet technology for your business..
Learning what the words mean goes hand-in-hand with learning how to use internet technology, opening even more opportunities for your business to grow and succeed online.
Calculate the Cost-Benefit
With all these fears successfully handled, there is one last hurdle many businesses will have to face: is it worth investing in online?
Using the internet costs money: new technology can be expensive, as can the training required to get yourself and your staff up-to-speed. Even an affordable internet connection will still be an on-going cost to your businesses online presence.
It makes sense for businesses to be scared of these costs, especially if their margins are already tight. However, investing in online opens up new opportunities for businesses to grow their market share and reach new customers, meaning more sales and more income.
It’s time to take your business online
If you’re still afraid of running your business online, you may just have to grit your teeth and push through the fear. While your fears may be valid, it is crucial for almost any business who wants to succeed in the modern marketplace to develop an online presence.
Consumers are relying on their own research online more and more, and they want more information more readily available before they make purchase decisions. Employees are increasingly tech-savvy, and are more interested in remote working and other technology-assisted employment.
Businesses that can meet these behaviors with a strong online presence backed up by modern digital technologies and online marketing will be the ones to thrive in the global economy.
You don’t have to become an internet expert overnight – and not all online technologies will be right for your business right now. However, it’s important to get started, put away your fears, and find out how your business can best succeed online.