Small businesses may not be able to offer the resources afforded to large companies and can’t forecast, with 100% certainty, how things will look internally in a few years. They’re still growing, after all, and the current economic outlook seems grim, at times. What small businesses can offer, though, is to meet employees where they are.
A reliable, powerful, and flexible video meeting platform works wonders for small businesses, even if they don’t host many meetings. The technology of virtual meeting software has evolved to incorporate analytics, task and time management, and workflow monitoring available to every employee. It lays the groundwork for a developing small business to add employees and establish lasting, sustainable protocols no matter how large they become.
Here are some key considerations for small businesses to keep in mind when shopping for this core business tool:
Safe and Secure
“Zoombombing” became a running joke at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when most work operations worldwide shifted online. The idea was that a stranger could hack into a video call in progress to cause confusion and troll the participants. What started as an innocuous annoyance escalated to a security risk that cost Zoom a pretty penny: The company paid out an $85 million lawsuit in 2021.
It’s no longer acceptable for video meeting software to hold anything but the highest of security standards, and most vendors have stepped up their protection game. Start by prioritizing software that supports, or even requires, two-factor authentication. It introduces an extra step, but it effectively locks out any scammer without access to multiple devices owned by an individual user. Some software vendors offer their own authentication software, and using the two together streamlines security efforts. Plus, though much of modern video chat software is cloud-based, it makes sense to favor vendors that run physical data centers, adding an additional hoop for hackers to jump through.
Many issues can be avoided when the software gives authority to the person running the call. Look for offerings that allows the host to “lock” calls in progress. This ensures no one new can enter, even if they have been invited or managed to get a link to the call. Prioritize software that routes requests for screen sharing and recording through the folks running the virtual meetings, as well.
Thanks to developments in SaaS, particularly in automation capabilities, meeting software is capable of focusing on what occurs before and after the meeting itself. For example, if a company is hosting a webinar, the software could allow users to customize invites or send pre-event surveys, later emailing all attendees a transcript of the conversation, generated automatically.
Small businesses should consider investing in a meeting platform from the same vendor that runs the remainder of its apps. This produces numerous benefits, including a heightened level of security due to the ability for vendors to monitor issues from a centralized location. The option also unlocks the analytics functions embedded in most video meeting software. As a continuation of the above webinar example, the right technology solution can pull information automatically when the meeting is complete, such as the results of polls or key figures discussed in a slide deck, crunch some numbers, and send the results to every attendee and employee. The latter recipients will find salient tasks added to their calendars and nitty gritty numbers embedded in tracking spreadsheets—all possible because the disparate pieces of software communicate with each other seamlessly.
It may be tempting for small businesses to forgo this process and simply go with whichever vendor offers the cheapest solution. The true savings comes from the interoperability of multiple related tools, bundled and priced as a package of collaboration apps.
Near or Far
The right piece of video meeting software does wonders for employee experience. When unified with other applications, employees maintain a bird’s eye view of the daily grind and can adjust tasks quickly to execute any required pivots. It also maximizes employee time by enabling the distribution of agendas before virtual meetings and allowing for virtual whiteboards during the call.
However, a strong piece of meeting software sends the message that a company understands how its employees work.
Small businesses should prioritize meeting software with a mobile component. It sounds like a given—shouldn’t all tech companies build mobile apps to complement their desktop offerings?—but a vendor that produces reliable meeting software and a supported, state-of-the-art, technologically savvy mobile app is harder to find than some might think. Plus, when this software operates within a unified system, even mobile meetings are mined for helpful data to guide and update workflows.
Because employees will be engaging with the software from, theoretically, all over the world, it’s important for small businesses to use technology that maintains an activity log for supervisors to review after-the-fact. If a security breach were to occur, this can be an invaluable resource in tracking down what happened and patching the vulnerability to last through periods of growth.
Standards and Practices for Virtual Meetings
Small businesses must build their software suite with efficiency in mind. It’s easy to overlook this aspect when there are only a few employees who can make exceptions to every rule, but once the company grows, it will become important to establish best practices for when new hires, particularly new managers, come aboard.
The software also establishes a precedent: Now, when something important comes up, employees are incentivized to hold virtual meetings to disseminate information knowing it will be communicated effectively and there will exist a virtual paper trail in case wires are crossed.
Most importantly, video meeting software saves small businesses time—a commodity businesses of all sizes must protect at all costs.
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