3 key ways technology can help small businesses to unlock business growth
Today’s competitive landscape is more challenging than ever. Every day new competitors spring up across industries, challenging business models and disrupting markets. No industry is immune to change, no business immune to the challenges that come with it.
In some ways this is good news for Small and Medium Business owners, MDs or CEOs. Small businesses are in a unique position to succeed in this highly competitive environment and because of their size, they are naturally able to respond quickly to change. Additionally, new means to access enterprise-grade technology has made the playing field a lot more even - opening up a new world of opportunity and potential for business growth.
The right technology can help you to better leverage your competitive advantage. But you also need to set up your business, your processes and your ways of working in a flexible, agile way so that you can make the most of new opportunities as they present themselves.
The right tools = the flexibility to move fast
If your small business is to be competitive, your team needs access to technology that will enable them to work from any location – and from any device – as effectively as they would from the office. This means that you won’t miss those important calls, your team can share ideas and collaborate with ease- and in real time! - and you can expand your reach quickly and seamlessly.
For small businesses, having the right tools in place is key to being able to leverage your unique competitive advantage. Flexible ways of working not only help to keep your staff happy, they can also directly support business growth. Here are just three ways:
1. Serve your customers better (and grow your share of wallet)
If employees can work from any location and seamlessly collaborate with colleagues they’ll be able to service customers more efficiently and effectively. Consider: 1. a sales rep being able to address a client query on the spot by accessing the right file or instantly (and unobtrusively) liaising with a product expert back at the office; vs 2. one who has to ‘get back to the customer’. Which one is more likely to get that purchase order? Which one appears more knowledgeable?
The right customer experience will also help you stand out from the competition – especially if your product or service is otherwise similar. If you are known for providing a superior customer experience more business will follow – from your existing customers and from those they recommend you to.
2. Test new ideas quicker
Thinking about setting up an office to service a new location? Not so long ago, setting up a new office meant buying a new system and installing it. Now you only need a quality network connection and a venue, and your team is ready to start bringing in new customers.
Thinking of establishing a call centre to test a new service model? As with setting up a new office, you only need a quality network connection and a flexible software license for each of the call centre agents you need. Under this model you can ‘test-run’ your new strategy and expand or pull-back if you need.
Got a new product idea? You can discuss and develop it with your team using business social networking tools and establish a regular face-to-face conversations using advanced video conferencing functionality. Everyone who needs to be involved with the process can discuss it in real time from wherever they are.
3. Target new markets
You may wish to explore a whole new market or business model. Just as you may have seen the emergence of ‘non-traditional’ competitors in your space, so too you can now explore alternative business models with ease. When targeting new markets, the right technology can help you formulate your strategy by brainstorming it with your staff and experts – either through social tools, collaboration tools or advanced video conferencing functionality. Once you are ready, you can test your idea – quickly set up a new location or call centre – make adjustments as required, and keep moving forward.
And the right technology can help you challenge the big guys head-on by appearing bigger than you are – for example, call-centre agents for different segments, facilitating video interactions with your customers or by enabling multiple landline dial-ins for various departments.
Discover what the right technology could mean for your business
Our white paper - "How technology powers an agile business" - discusses how unified communications can benefit the staff and customers of small and medium businesses. It also debunks some myths about the cloud and looks at ways of making your small business agile, responsive and flexible – the way it needs to be to keep pace with the needs of customers in today’s world.