27 January 2016
How often do we read the phrase ‘growth is on the agenda’ in business articles? It seems that every company everywhere is looking to get bigger – and for good reason. The global market is more stable than it has been in recent years. And with the Government investing £120 million over four years, the digital economy is providing businesses with better and more diverse opportunities to expand.
But it’s not all good news…
For every winner there must be a loser. For every business that gains market share, another must lose it. In the contemporary business environment, every company must work according to the mantra: if we don’t, someone else will.
This is all the more important for SMEs, for whom the line between success and failure is impossibly thin. That’s why conditions for growth to take place must be spot on. And one of the most important is telecommunications. SMEs that know their growth plans and build scalability into their tech solutions stand to win in a competitive marketplace.
Plotting the journey
One of the trickiest parts of getting communications tech to facilitate growth is knowing at what level to invest. Investing too little leaves businesses playing an expensive and time-consuming game of catch-up. Investing too much leads to money wasted on unused comms products.
SMEs have several options to help them strike the right balance and arrive at the correct investment decision. Here’s a few to consider:
Telecommunications providers have years of experience of working with organisations of all sizes. With that comes an idea of how their products can meet the growth pattern of any business. SMEs should benefit from the experience their contacts at the provider has to offer and use the experience of others to arrive at a decision on how much to invest in telecommunications provisions.
Most SMEs will know what their voice, data and mobile needs are for their current roster of employees. But do they know what they’ll be if the business doubles or even triples in size over a period of years?
The best way to answer the question is to ascertain what the business might look like in one, two, five and ten years’ time through rigorous planning. Applying today’s tech numbers to larger numbers of people and premises is a rough way to work out what tech infrastructure is needed.
Combined, these exercises can help SMEs to understand their future and how their peers approached the same journey.
The right tech
There are so many solutions available to SMEs today. But most SMEs do not have specialist in-house IT or telecommunications support or expertise. Instead they are reliant on their provider and whatever insight they can provide for the big buying decisions.
Fortunately, good providers see advising SME customers as part of the job. They understand that what works for the customer works for the supplier too. And the best telecommunications providers become an integral part of their customers’ growth journeys.
With this in mind, SMEs should choose to work with a provider that can build scalability into the tech solutions they buy. Through systems like hosted telephony, which allows for the easy addition of new users as the business grows. Or SIP trunking, which offers a more flexible solution for growing businesses than traditional fixed line alternatives. Either way, it is essential that the capacity for rapid expansion is part of the product, rather than an add-on.
SMEs should feel that their telecommunications solutions and provider will not just enable growth, but encourage it. By being future savvy, planning effectively and working with suppliers that want to see their clients expand, any SME should be confident that growth is really on the agenda.
27 January 2016 | Jamie Ward
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.