Nobody is making it through the COVID-19 pandemic unscathed, including Rocky Mount small businesses.

And that’s a big deal, considering that small businesses generate about 44 percent of all economic activity in the United States.

But 2021 is a different year, one that has found the economy firing back up. Small businesses are rebounding and are poised to help fuel the recovery. One of the best ways for Rocky Mount small businesses to thrive in this new post-pandemic world is to tap into technology, and US Cellular has a variety of solutions and tips that can help business owners thrive

Go touchless: Shoppers have slowly gotten back into the retail groove, but many still have reservations about touching highly trafficked surfaces, including credit card readers.

Having a contactless payment option allows customers to pay with confidence. The Square payment app is one of the most powerful mobile payment apps on the market. Pairing the Square app with a mobile card reader converts a smartphone or tablet into a fully functional digital cash register.

Get social: During COVID-19, conditions constantly changed. Rocky Mount small businesses who managed to navigate the pandemic successfully did so in part by harnessing the power of social media to share valuable information and updates with their customers.

Using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to communicate about open hours, services and sales — not to mention updates on unforeseen closures and other incidents — is a great way to keep customers informed.

Go digital: Even before COVID, having an up-to-date and mobile-friendly website was key for small businesses. Now that online business has boomed because of the pandemic, it’s even more important for small businesses to have a user-friendly website that allows customers to browse and buy from their mobile phone or computer.

According to a Google study, 76 percent of people who use their smartphones to search for something nearby, end up visiting a business within a day. Keep sites updated and current to ensure sites are providing Rocky Mount area customers with accurate information.

Get remote: The pandemic taught people how to work remotely – and to do it well. While it doesn’t work for all small businesses, many can benefit from allowing their employees to work remotely by using platforms like Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams.

The key to effective video conferencing services is a solid network that ensures smooth streaming for employees, customers and anyone else who’s logging in.

With COVID-19 ever changing, now is the time for small businesses to take another look at how to use technology to maximize their opportunities for the remainder of 2021 and beyond.

Jeremy Taylor is the director of sales in eastern North Carolina for US Cellular.