As an SME business owner you probably have a lot on your plate. And, let’s be honest, WiFi is probably not at the top of the list. But when it starts having a financial impact, maybe it’s time to give it some focus. Here’s seven common WiFi ‘sins’ to avoid, plus the small business WiFi solutions to ensure they don’t cost your business.
1. Taking a DIY ‘have a go’ approach
You probably have some experience setting up your WiFi at home. It’s therefore tempting to think that setting up a small business WiFi solution is similar. However, in practice there are some crucial differences. Not least of which is the fact you’ll probably have to cover different types of user. This could be employees, contractors, guests or customers, depending on your business type.
Making sure that everyone gets what they want and need can be a challenge. For customers, a strong connection makes them more likely to come back. For your team, it helps productivity, getting more work done faster.
Yes, you can buy your own WiFi equipment and set it up yourself, but that’s not to say you should.
Aside from the time and effort involved, you’ll also have to deal with troubleshooting it yourself if something goes wrong. This could mean hours trying to Google the answer, or on the phone to your ISP or equipment provider.
A professional small business WiFi solutions installer will take care of everything from setup to problem-solving. You can then focus on running your business, not your WiFi network. You also have someone to help if you have any problems. The proper expertise and experience will ensure your WiFi network is optimised and running smoothly from day one.
2. Mixing business & pleasure
Would you let your customers freely wander into your back office? Probably not. In which case, why would you do that with your WiFi network?
Your business network needs to be able to operate independently of whatever is happening on your public-facing WiFi. You wouldn’t want essential business operations grinding to a halt because someone decided to hog all the bandwidth binge-watching the latest must-see on Netflix. You also don’t want to give anyone and everyone a crack at your internal network.
If your business hosts visiting customers, it is therefore a best practice to separate your network. Having distinct public-facing and private-facing systems improves security and performance. You’ll also have a lot more control.
A professionally set-up small business WiFi solution will be able to accommodate this. Public-facing networks can pose unique security risks, but a correctly installed wireless network will put the protection of your business at the forefront.
3. Hanging out the ‘Please hack me’ sign
When it come to network security there are lots of things to bear in mind. Firstly, there’s the online, digital threats. After all, offering free public WiFi is essentially hanging a sign on the door for hackers to have a go at your network. Setting up separate public and guest networks helps protect your data against these type of attacks.
But don’t forget you also need to consider the physical security of your equipment. The wrong person with access to the right system can potentially do a lot of damage. Make sure that your networking equipment is physically secure in the workplace.
4. Missing out on a marketing boost
Information is the new currency of the digital marketing age. As a small business owner you may only occasionally wear the marketing hat. But if you ignore easy ways to automate customer loyalty and repeat business, you’re missing a trick.
Offering guest WiFi can provide a potentially lucrative leg-up for your marketing, with minimal effort. Adding some branding and a simple form to the WiFi login page will allow you to capture customers’ email, contact and other useful data. It’s a tried and tested way to boost your mailing list and keep in touch with your customers. Maybe to offer discounts, or promote events to get them back through the door . (You’ll obviously still need their permission to comply with data protection laws.) An experienced small business WiFi solutions provider will be able to set this up for you.
5. Failing to future-proof
Technology is evolving, fast. And WiFi solutions for small business are no exception. What works today might not be the best solution for tomorrow. If you’re not careful the WiFi setup that worked fine last year may not meet your business needs today.
As your business grows, your wireless network should be designed to grow with you and scale to your changing needs. You should be able to easily swap out or add components to expand connectivity or improve security. It’s also sensible to stay on top of patching any devices as new vulnerabilities are discovered.
With professionally-installed small business WiFi solutions you have peace of mind that best practices for equipment, configuration, and security are followed. You’ll also have access to the knowledge and expertise to adapt your network to your business’s changing needs.
6. Poor planning
You’ve probably noticed that WiFi signal reception can vary a lot from location to location. Certain materials can be a real headache when it comes to getting a good connection. For example, metal work like pipes, RSJs and underfloor heating can really interfere with your signal. Not to mention the numerous other WiFi blocking culprits lurking in most buildings.
This makes trying to set up and optimise a wireless network tricky for professionals, let alone trying to do it yourself. Proper planning of your WiFi is therefore crucial to a successful end result.
A specialist small business WiFi solutions expert can create a WiFi ‘heat map’ of your premises. This will visually represent wireless signal strength and identify any problem areas within your business’s layout. In turn, this helps plan the optimal position for WiFi broadcast equipment.
Correct positioning is important for two main reasons:
- Firstly, to make sure you get a WiFi signal where you need it, avoiding dreaded WiFi dead zones.
- Secondly, to make sure you’re not over-saturating with too much overlapping WiFi signal. (This is a more common problem than you might think. People tend to believe more is better. This means throwing lots of WiFi broadcast devices into the mix in the hope it will do the job. And probably spend a fair amount of money doing so. But in actual fact, exactly the opposite is true. Ground noise is a real problem if you have too much WiFi equipment too close together, all shouting to be heard. When it comes to good WiFi, less is usually more.)
7. Ignoring customer experience
A staggering three quarters of us Brits say we can’t live without the internet. More than half of hospitality customers would be encouraged to return if free WiFi is on offer. And nearly three quarters of retail customers say they’d be more likely to convert if free WiFi is available in-store.
These days, simply meeting your customers’ expectations, very often isn’t enough. You might think you’re being generous offering free WiFi, and that customers should be grateful. However you can bet that’s not how they see it. If the WiFi’s not fast, free and readily available it’s quick and easy for them to tell a lot of people – your potential customers, your future revenue.
To establish long-term loyalty, you need to exceed expectations and create a memorable experience. For many consumers, WiFi is a critical part of that customer experience.
Small Business WiFi Solutions in Bristol & Bath
A professionally-installed and properly configured wireless network is no longer a nice-to-have. Even for smaller businesses.
We know you don’t have big IT budgets. That’s why we offer affordable WiFi solutions for local Bristol and Bath area businesses. For friendly advice and to book your WiFi survey contact us today.