How 6 Tech Giants Are Giving SMBs a Hand in the Pandemic

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 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.

Before Kabbage, the SMB lending process took ages. Kabbage’s cash flow management tools make it possible for companies to get cash in minutes, not weeks.

Shortly after COVID reached U.S. shores, Kabbage unveiled its Help Small Business initiative. Site visitors can purchase online gift certificates to local businesses, giving them another way to raise revenue when sales are likely dropping. Businesses that sign up for Help Small Business can access funds as soon as the next business day after a customer purchases a certificate.

A great CRM sets the foundation for sustainable growth. Salesforce, another company founded in the 20th century, introduced small businesses to the benefits of CRMs.

Salesforce’s solutions integrate with lots of other tools, meaning SMBs don’t need to rebuild from the ground up to add services. Additional communication channels — such as email, chat, and social — empower SMBs to communicate with and track prospects across channels.

For COVID, Salesforce has partnered with data visualization tool Tableau. Their COVID-19 data hub lets users look at coronavirus growth trajectories by country, helping them forecast the length and severity of business disruptions.

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.

Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

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