Every now and again, something catastrophic happens and it means for one reason or another we spend a period of time without internet access. Usually we have a back up plan: maybe using a mobile device or jumping on someone else’s connection but we’ve all become hopelessly reliant on having an active connection.
But never has this been more important than in recent years when most businesses lean so heavily on an online presence to drive calls, enquiries and sales: Every moment without internet access for them is literally costing them money.
Taking Things For Granted
We all take things for granted until they break of have issues. The internet is an incredibly powerful tool and to be honest I wish I’d had internet access back when I was a school! Information on anything is now readily available with a few key strokes to get you there and any business worth their salt is going to be listed and ranking for their relevant terms on search engines provided they are putting some effort in.
Like everything from your central heating, your car and your computer, having reliable internet access is usually a not a concern until it actually fails or goes awry. Many people have no idea about the speeds they may actually be getting from their provider and how reliable their connection is. This all changes when there is some downtime though and I would urge that anyone has a plan B. Simply hoping access will be reliable is not enough!
What’s this got to do with Business?
Well, everything actually; Many companies use VOIP phones, pretty much every business uses computers with an active link to the internet. Most have websites to drive traffic, sales, enquiries with a large number paying for online advertising such as Google Adwords to push traffic.
Now imagine if there is a connection issue that stops that phone ringing whilst your ads are still showing… Many enquiries will simply find another company to call then and there.
If your website hosting solution is not ideal you could also be paying for traffic to a site that is up and down like a yoyo. All the while, you are throwing that ad spend away.
So What’s the Solution?
Of course there are a few things you can do to try and spread the risk of losing your internet access!
- Ensure you are not 100% reliant on VOIP phones. Yes they are great but at least 1 landline is recommended or in many cases a mobile would help. You may be able to forward calls if there is an issue so have this information in place in advance of losing connectivity.
- Have a backup plan: Many Routers can be connected to a dongle for backup or you could tether a mobile phone and use it for wifi. You may also have a company or neighbour within range that you could agree in advance to use their wifi if yours has a hiccup. Not ideal but it may help.
- Always ensure your Website Hosting package is reliable and near bullet proof! The last thing you want is to be with a company who may have issues that mean your website is on and off a lot of the time.
- It seems obvious but keeps all systems up to date and protected. This may include software updates, anti virus / malware protection as well as maintaining equipment. It’s not always your connection that may fail: The equipment could be the root of the problem.
- Keep offline access to anything you may need: Whether it be important documents, client or contact details. All online forms should be accessible in an offline format.
- Synch online calendars to multiple devices: Never miss a meeting, call or task!
- Get things right from the start. Usually when things are done in haste, you’ll have issues further down the line so try to ensure that all equipment used, all systems & software in place are high quality and reliable where possible.
- Don’t panic! Not having a Plan B for the “day the internet went down” is instantly going to be a problem when the unthinkable happens. So think ahead and put some systems in place!