Building small business resiliency during COVID-19 and beyond

By Lissa Ricci

Lissa Ricci, senior leader for small business at Cisco Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide that was already present in the small business market. What was once considered a way for businesses to gain competitive advantage, has now become a matter of survival – businesses must embrace digitalization to remain resilient

A recent survey conducted by IDC and commissioned by Cisco, found that 97 per cent of Canadian small businesses believe the pandemic has made their business more reliant on technology, and 70 per cent are accelerating the digitization of their business as a direct result of the pandemic.

This Small Business Month, Cisco wants to provide small business owners with the technology solutions, resources and support they need to build long-term resiliency. Technology has been and will continue to be a lifeline during these challenging and unpredictable times – so, where should businesses looking to accelerate digitalization begin?

Refocus your technology roadmap on resiliency

The COVID-19 pandemic forced small businesses around the world to abandon long-term plans for digital transformation. In the blink of an eye, remote working was enforced and companies had to provide their teams with the necessary tools and technology to continue working almost overnight.

Whether a business was part of this initial wave or is looking to make the change now, a trusted technology partner can play a key role in helping small businesses evaluate – or re-evaluate – their technology roadmap and identify areas for improvement. This can include helping them understand which critical business processes can be automated and evaluating the technologies they should invest in.

As resiliency remains a top priority for Cisco, we’re continuing to improve our offerings. We’ve broadened our ‘Designed for Business’ portfolio and launched a Small Business Resource Centre – featuring helpful tools, tips, videos and more – to better support small businesses in Canada. The portfolio offers tailored networking and collaboration solutions to support recovery and success in the current economic climate. You can explore all of our networking, security, and collaboration offers here. 

The breadth of solutions on the market can be overwhelming, but a trusted technology partner can be an invaluable asset to help identify the priority areas and technologies that can best build business resiliency. Digitization doesn’t need to be difficult, just remember to simplify, start small, and to continue learning.

Explore your financing options

In today’s complex business environment, we understand these decisions are not only focused on which technology to invest in, but also how to purchase it. A recent survey by the Business Development Bank of Canada found a top priority of business owners is getting their financial houses in order, which includes reducing operating costs and improving cash flow. With increased pressure on budgets, it is more critical than ever for growing businesses to control costs and demonstrate return on investments. 

Consider leveraging remanufactured equipment to help with cash flow and budget requirements. Another option is financing. Financing from Cisco Capital can help small, mid-size, and growing businesses easily address business critical issues, allowing the focus to remain on key business objectives, such as driving productivity, maintaining profitability and improving competitiveness through innovation.

Cisco Capital is also uniquely positioned to provide the most flexible and competitive financing for Cisco technologies. If you’re interested in learning more about the financing solution l and how it can help you achieve your financial and technology goals, you can visit our website here. 

Throughout the rest of October, Cisco will continue to run a small business recovery campaign that is providing entrepreneurs with the tools and resources to rebound from the impact of COVID-19, including our Small Business Resiliency Guide, special promotions and ongoing learning opportunities. 

To learn more, visit our Small Business Month Hub here.