The new small business owner's guide to technology: The technology basics

Author: Nick Reese

If you're a small business owner preparing to launch a new business—or perhaps you've already put out your shingle—you likely have a checklist that is a mile long. What services will you offer? What will you sell? Where will you source your products? How will you find employees? And how will you attract customers?

But one item that should be at the top of every small business owner's list is technology. As the foundation of your business operations, understanding and choosing the right technology will be essential to helping you drive your business productivity, efficiency, competitiveness and success.

The more you can leverage technology in the early days of your business to improve operations, the better you will be equipped to attract and retain your first customers and build positive word of mouth. Here are tips for new small business owners to help you understand your technology options.

Small businesses require high-speed, secure and reliable internet connectivity to run their business applications. This is why it is important to look for a partner who can provide reliable, fast and scalable connectivity to help support your specific business needs. Learn what you need to know to select and set up the business internet services you require.

Business Internet

A high-speed, secure and reliable internet connection is a fundamental technology for small business. You can use it to run almost all your business applications, which these days are often operated in the cloud instead of on your PC. In addition, you can use your business internet to communicate with customers, access business data, manage your e-commerce applications, conduct banking, interface with suppliers and more. Business internet is essential to help you run your business right from the start.

When it comes to choosing a small business internet provider, you will want to compare how the different internet service providers (ISPs) in your area compare across the following factors:

  • ISP Reliability: What is the reputation of each ISP in your area? How fast can you expect the ISP to respond if there is an outage or if you experience issues with your business internet?
  • Service and support: Does the ISP have a high rating for customer satisfaction in independent customer surveys? Do they offer personal customer service via phone or online chat? Do they provide self-service options for support so you don't have to wait? How easy is their installation process?
  • Speed: What are the upload and download speeds for the ISP's business internet plans?
  • Scalability: Does the ISP have a variety of plans and options in case you need to upgrade as your business grows? If you open up new locations in other areas, will you be able to use the same provider for that connection?
  • Cost: How much will your internet service cost? Is there a discount if you bundle internet service with other services like desk phones, mobile phones, cybersecurity, cloud storage or other technology services?
  • Contracts and terms: Does the contract have terms that fit the needs of your business? Do you need to buy equipment, or is it included? How long is the contract length, and what are the fees if you cancel early?

Business owners operating out of the home may need to consider what works best for them because business internet plans cater to the needs of businesses, potentially providing advantages over residential plans. Business internet plans can offer features that a small business owner might need such as cybersecurity tools.

Wired or wireless business internet plans can be customized depending on your needs:

  • Wired: A fiber optic, or wired, solution can provide fast, affordable connectivity. For example, Verizon Fios offers a speed plan as high as 940 Mbps download and 880 Mbps upload, available in some areas. You can check your business address to see whether Fios Business Internet is available for you at your location.
  • Wireless: This option can deliver fast, reliable internet wirelessly so you can easily connect devices like tablets, phones, point-of-sale terminals, laptops and more. For example, Verizon LTE Business Internet offersa range of speed plans, so you can select a plan based on your bandwidth needs. 5G Business Internet, it it is available for your location, may make more sense if you need more speed for things like frequent video conferencing or webinar hosting.
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Every small business owner should analyze how they plan to use technology when selecting the internet speed they need. That's because a faster speed plan will likely cost more. While a faster speed plan might be nice, there's no reason to pay for it if you're not going to use it.

If your business only uses the internet to do things like send emails, browse the web and complete point-of-sale interactions, a plan like the Verizon LTE Business Internet 10 Mbps plan may meet your needs. For more sophisticated internet needs, Verizon 5G Business Internet offers a 400 Mbps speed plan in select areas, which is capable of handling heavy cloud app usage, streaming media and even advanced devices and robotics—at a higher cost. Learn how to calculate how fast your business internet speed needs to be.

Once you select a provider, contact them to confirm they cover your business address. They can also help you understand your options and determine what type of business internet plan makes the most sense for your needs now and as you grow. Once you choose a plan, the ISP will coordinate with you to install any hardware and activate the service.

The right business mobile plan can help facilitate operations, customer service and communication. There are a variety of devices, services and features from which to choose, so it is important to understand the options that are available to you. Learn more.


While you can get a phone that is hardwired into your location, many businesses now employ a cloud-based phone system. For example, Verizon One Talk makes it easy to use both One Talk desk phones and smartphones using the cloud. With One Talk, you can easily manage your phone system, add new numbers, forward calls from a desk phone to a smartphone, support conferencing and more, without a lengthy installation process. Learn how small businesses like yours use One Talk.

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Your business mobile plan is just as important as the wired or wireless internet plan you choose for your business location for all the same reasons—facilitating operations, customer service and communication. In addition, the right mobile plan can help small business owners and their employees stay connected when they are away from their desks, working at a customer site, traveling for business and more.

You and your employees can also use smartphones to access your IT solutions for small business, such as project management software, payment processing, invoices, files and applications. However, to make the most use of these services you'll need the right plan and devices to match.

The right mobile plan should make it easy to run your business on the go. Here's what to look for:

  • Broad coverage: Pick a network provider with wide coverage across your region, in addition to anywhere domestic business travel may take you.
  • Adequate data: Smartphone applications like video conferencing require a lot of data. Make sure your plan meets your data needs for applications like video streaming or cloud-based applications.
  • Reliability: Find a provider that is known for network reliability in your area.
  • Customer service: Because your business depends on constant connectivity and communication, make sure the network provider has a reputation for fast, comprehensive customer support.
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5G is the latest generation of mobile network technology. 5G can provide data transfer speeds that are higher than typical 4G speeds, which can enable the greater network capacity and lower latency required to support advanced applications.

5G is in the process of being rolled out across the U.S. For Verizon users, 5G Ultra Wideband is now available to over 200 million people and the company continues to expand its 5G Ultra Wideband network, including in rural and suburban areas. 

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A small business owner will likely need a smartphone in order to stay connected on the go and access business applications. Employees that work outside the office—such as field staff or remote workers—may also need their own business-provided smartphones. Another option is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that allows employees to use their personally owned phones, saving you money and some of the burden of managing those devices.

Depending on your type of business, you may also require tablets. Tablets are often used in point-of-sale systems to enable checkout. They are also used across operations to help employees look up inventory, input orders from the field and access data on the go.

It can be overwhelming to sift through the hundreds of different smartphones and tablets available for your business. Here's what to look for, so you can make the right choice for your business:

  • Operating system: There are two main operating systems to choose from. iOS is only available for Apple devices, while Android is used by manufacturers like Samsung, Google, Motorola and TCL.
  • Performance: Phones vary widely in cost depending on their hardware specs. Make sure you choose devices that have enough processing power to smoothly run your business applications and multitask effectively.
  • Screen size: Depending on your work and your personal preferences, you might prefer a larger screen for better visibility or a smaller one for more portability.
  • Camera: If your business requires quality photos or videos for marketing or operations, choose a device that comes with a high-quality camera and features like image stabilization.
  • Storage: Check that the device has sufficient capacity for your files, applications, photos and videos. Keep in mind you can also leverage cloud storage if you need more room, but this storage requires network connectivity to access files.
  • Battery life: Strong battery life is a must for a small business owner on the go. Make sure you select a device that can last the entire workday without requiring a charge.
  • Security features: Many devices now include security features like biometric authentication, such as Face ID for iPhones, helping you protect your sensitive business data.
  • Durability: If your work involves rugged conditions such as construction or field services, consider a device that is specifically designed for durability. You can also buy a sturdier case that offers extra protection against falls, dirt and water.

There are other technology solutions, such as cloud storage, customer relationship management systems, and more that can help support the needs of your small business. Find out more.

Additional insights

A virtual meeting and conferencing solution is used to meet with others through a device instead of in person. This software enables real-time video, audio, text chat, screen sharing, whiteboarding and other features to be accessed through a PC, smartphone or tablet. This can help employees collaborate with each other or connect with clients and prospects, wherever they are.

There are many different types of virtual meeting and conferencing platforms on the market. Some are better suited to small meetings and collaboration, while others are better suited to hosting larger events like webinars or conferences. Learn more about video and collaboration solutions by Verizon.

Choosing the right internet network, mobile plan and mobile devices can give you the foundation you need to unlock other technologies. Consider which of the following solutions may be relevant to your specific business needs:

  • Cloud storage: These apps allow you to store, share and access files from compatible devices. One major benefit is this creates a single source of truth that ensures employees are working from the same file, instead of emailing documents back and forth and accidentally working on an outdated version.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM): CRM apps allow you to manage customer interactions and sales prospects effectively. You can track leads, manage customer contacts, schedule follow-ups and view sales analytics.
  • Accounting and finance: These apps make it easy to send invoices, process payments and manage expenses. They can also integrate with your bank account for financial tracking.
  • Project management: These apps help keep your projects on track. You and your team can assign tasks, monitor progress and receive updates as a task moves from initial kickoff to final completion.
  • Operations: Different businesses require specialty operational apps, such as a payment processing system for a retailer, an inventory management system for a logistics company, or GPS fleet tracking software for a business that sends vehicles into the field.
  • Marketing: These platforms help you attract and retain customers by making it easier to manage your social media presence, update your website with fresh content, nurture your email list and more.
  • E-commerce: If you run an online store, e-commerce platforms can help manage inventory, process orders and interact with customers.

Technology is a business necessity. By taking the time to select the right technologies now, you can build a solid foundation for your business to grow—technologies that can help you to drive efficiency, scale operations and compete for customers. If you want to learn how to set up a small business with the right technology, Verizon can help.

Learn more

Find more about how Verizon can help you unlock opportunities for your small business.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.

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