By Brad ANDERSON
Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Never has that been clearer than during COVID-19, the pandemic currently roiling the world economy.
Small- and medium-sized businesses compete with larger companies, but they also depend on them. Here’s how some of the biggest players in tech are making life easier for SMBs:
Microsoft was a big tech before big tech existed. While most of the companies on this list got their start during the dot-com boom or after, Microsoft marked the new millennium by celebrating its 25th birthday.
In the wake of COVID, Microsoft is leveraging its perspective to help leaders understand how the virus is affecting their community. Its COVID-19 tracker can zoom into specific counties, displaying related news in a sidebar.
Those insights can help SMBs make better decisions about how great the risk is to employees, when to shut their doors, and where donations can do the most good.
Cisco knows that small and medium businesses compete with bigger players based on their agility and flexibility. It also knows that, during the pandemic, SMBs can’t afford enterprise-level remote work tools.
While COVID rages, the network management company is offering free access to its Webex virtual work environment platform. It’s also giving small businesses free access to its top three data security technologies: Cisco Umbrella, Duo, and Anyconnect.
Facebook doesn’t just sell ads or solicit status updates. Built to be used by even the most tech-illiterate business owners, Facebook’s tools make it easy to research and grow an audience.
To help SMBs maintain those audiences during tough times, Facebook’s Small Business Grants program is distributing $100 million in cash grants and ad credits. The program, which is available to small businesses in 30 countries, is intended to help recipients meet payroll, pay rent, connect with new customers, and keep their operations intact.
What doesn’t Google do? Perhaps the tech giant that most affects the average person’s daily life, Google also offers a variety of useful tools for SMBs. Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Hangouts can replace paid versions of similar apps with little or no loss in quality.
Google is helping small businesses affected by COVID in a couple of ways. For one, it’s encouraging them to update their hours and get the word out via their Google Business profile. Google also offers a helpful guide to help affected SMBs communicate with employees, create business continuity plans, and work remotely using the tools above.
It couldn’t be clearer: Tech companies are stepping up in the face of COVID. And for the small- and medium-sized businesses that depend on them, their help could be the difference between thriving and throwing in the towel.
*Culled from readwrite.com…….Brad Anderson is Editor-in-Chief @ReadWrite