It’s hard to remember a time when small businesses were faced with greater challenges to their survival. This year has seen a summer of extreme bushfires followed immediately by a global health crisis with devastating economic impact. And that’s on top of the day-to-day challenges of cyber-security threats, rapidly changing consumer markets, and many more. Business disruption seems like the constant now, and it’s becoming clearer than ever, that the way to manage it is with technology.

Technology can be one of the best lines of defence to protect small businesses during uncertain times. At Cisco, we recognise that small businesses are the backbone of the economy and they represent the majority of Australian businesses. But we also know that many of these business owners don’t wake up thinking about their tech – so we’re here to help them through these unprecedented challenges. We’re focused on making on our solutions easier for small businesses to use and help keep them humming along, no matter what the circumstances are.

Business disruption: the new normal?

We’ve partnered with the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) CEO, Peter Strong, in a three-part podcast series to explore how small businesses can build resilience in the face of these challenges. In episode 1, Luke Power, Cisco’s Head of Small Business and Distribution in Australia and New Zealand, talks to Peter Strong and Helena Ng, Cisco’s Small Business Architecture Lead in Australia and New Zealand, about business continuity under workplace disruption.

In the wake of natural disasters and other incidents that have seen workplaces damaged, shut down or relocated, it’s vital that businesses adapt and evolve. We’ve seen numerous examples of businesses finding new ways to collaborate with customers and suppliers in an era of social distancing and travel restrictions. From bricks and mortar retailers and restaurants setting up online stores to service-based businesses giving online sessions and workshops. There have been incredible examples of transformation and the common factor among them all is adopting new technology.

Listen to the podcast below:

Collaboration without compromise is key

Maintaining communication with your teams and customers should be a top priority when approaching digital transformation for your own business. A collaboration solution that is reliable, secure and quick-to-deploy can minimise downtime as your business transitions into the virtual world. With Webex, our collaboration and videoconferencing platform, you can stay connected and engaged with anyone, in any location and on any device. Without compromising on security.

Peter Strong uses Webex and says the platform isn’t just good, it’s essential.

“If you don’t have that at home you are really going struggle to communicate. It’s so important that your communications are set up at the highest level so you can get the information to your staff who are home, but also with customers as well,” he said.

Helena notes that small businesses’ requirements for productivity tools are often the same as bigger corporations – but on smaller budgets. “That’s where Cisco comes in, trying to make the same quality of capability accessible to smaller budgets and smaller skill sets,” she says.

“Communication is so key at the moment”, says Luke Power. “Whether it’s a small business communicating with staff and suppliers, or with their customer… it’s about finding new strategies of communicating”.

In these challenging times, businesses are forced into change whether they are ready or not. Those that can adapt new technology quickly and efficiently are in a much better position to survive a crisis and come out the end stronger.

“It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in”, says Peter Strong. “Businesses that embrace technology are the ones that will perform better”.

How can you get started?

If you need a quick-fix to boost your team’s collaboration and productivity, you can get started with a free Webex account now. Or reach out to our team about the new Cisco Designed Work From Home Bundle which includes all the gear to stay connected from home.

Want to hear more from this series? Check out the full Small Business Resiliency series as we explore other critical topics for small business continuity.